17 Sept 2016


Nine winners of the Blue Economy Challenge have been announced, providing about US$2million to bring to scale new ideas for sustainable fish-farming in the Indian Ocean.

The Blue Economy Challenge is a collaborative effort between WWF-US, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Conservation X Labs and SecondMuse and aims to alleviate ocean pressures by crowdsourcing new and innovative approaches.

The winners were announced by Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop overnight in Washington DC, at an event hosted by WWF-US, during the 2016 Our Oceans Conference.

The first challenge specifically sought aquaculture innovations in the Indian Ocean, identifying initial ideas worth accelerating, ranging from using larvae from biowaste to produce fish feed to building a low-cost solar-powered fish farm-in-a-box.

“This investment in innovation will go a long way to tackle the question of how to ensure aquaculture helps address food security issues, without costing the earth,” said WWF-Australia Conservation Director Dr Gilly Llewellyn, who was in Washington for the announcement.

“The support for this Challenge from the Australian Government is a great demonstration of how Australia can be a good neighbor to our friends in the Indian Ocean region.”

With ever-growing pressures risking the long term health of our oceans, WWF-US is teaming up with Conservation X Labs to launch Oceans X Labs, a collaboration designed to harness the power of innovation and technology to accelerate conservation of the marine environment.

“Harnessing the diversity of powerful new technologies available today gives us the potential to fundamentally change the way we manage and sustain our oceans,” said WWF-US Senior Vice President for Oceans Brad Ack.

“By bringing together the conservation power of WWF and the innovation power of Conservation X Labs, along with many other partners, we can be deliberate in sourcing, developing and scaling promising technologies, linked to entrepreneurs, who together can turn the tide of ocean restoration efforts.”

“Oceans X Labs is about finding promising problem-solvers from all over the world and empowering them to design and build their solutions at scale,” said Alex Dehgan of Conservation X Labs.

“Whether tackling pollution, ocean acidification, or improving the way we manage our fisheries, the sky, or the ocean rather, is the limit.”

Media contacts:

WWF-Australia: Daniel Rockett, +61 (0)432 206 592, drockett@wwf.org.au

WWF-US: Audrey Payne, +1 202 495 4390, audrey.payne@wwfus.org