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AQUACULTURE


Ocean nourishment offers triple-bottom-line rewards


OCEAN NOURISHMENT (ON) TECHNOLOGY AIMS TO RESTORE THE PRODUCTIVITY AND HEALTH OF THE WORLD’S OCEANS, SEQUESTER CARBON DIOXIDE IN THE DEEP OCEAN AND PROVIDE AN INCREASE IN FISH FOR THE WORLD’S GROWING POPULATION. IT MAY ALSO OFFER A VALUABLE OPPORTUNITY FOR ETHICAL INVESTORS WITH A LONGER TIME HORIZON.


QWhich countries or areas are suitable for ON?


AThe process is applicable to about 60 per cent of the world’s oceans, an area defined between the 35 degree parallels of north and south, stretching from Namibia in southern Africa to the southern tip of Spain in Europe. ON is a deepwater (more than 500m) process applied to areas of the ocean where nitrogen is the limiting factor for growth of ocean plants at the base of the marine food chain. It is a form of biomimicry, copying the effect of nutrient upwellings from deep water. Countries such as Morocco and Peru that experience nutrient upwellings are therefore good early candidates for the process. Here the upwellings can be extended or supported by the introduction of limiting nutrients into the surface waters.


QWhat investment opportunities exist?


AOcean Nourishment Corporation is a pioneering business in macronutrient ON – essentially, farming the open ocean for the multiple benefits of carbon sequestration, protein harvest and the mitigation of surface ocean acidification. There are significant opportunities to be part of this leading-edge business and help make a social, environmental and economic contribution to a more sustainable and secure future. Because of the triple-bottom-line potential of ON, the


business attracts both philanthropic and commercial investments. This is a longer term (five to ten years) commercial opportunity for intergenerational investors. Investors involved in high-carbon-generating business and those involved in the ON value chain, from nitrogen manufacture to the shipping industry to fisheries, are encouraged to explore the potential offered by direct investment in ONC.


QIs there a timeframe on commercializing ON technology?


AThe technology may evolve in various directions. Currently the main commercialization focus is on carbon,


and this is regulated under the London Convention and Protocol (LCP) of the International Maritime Organization


110 FAMILY OFFICE: ASIA TOMORROW


(IMO). The technology is relatively new and is applicable to many areas around the world, so caution is advised. Traditional forms of open ocean aquaculture do not


fall under these constraints, and therefore offer a quicker route to commercialization, although still reliant on substantive science to support the business model. In either scenario, one ON site is sufficient to lead to


profitability. Our economic models assume our first site will be operational by 2016.


QWhat are the environmental risks?


AON feeds the base of the marine food chain, so the ecology will be changed as a consequence of an increased food supply. There will be winners and losers in such a scenario. We believe that the benefits of carbon sequestration, increased protein and mitigation of surface ocean acidification will far outweigh any negative effects, although this needs to be established through rigorous, independent scientific testing. At this stage in the development of ON, the main


environmental risks are undefined ecological changes. The nature and significance of these risks will be determined to some extent by ongoing modeling of ON operations and an improved understanding of climate science, but ultimately only through large-scale demonstrations and scientific testing.


QIn regard to increasing fish stocks, does ON favor certain species?


AFish species that feed directly on the ocean plants or phytoplankton enhanced by ON would in principle be


in the best position to prosper. ONC has studied sites of existing upwellings that traditionally support the world’s largest pelagic fisheries – for example, sardines off the coast of West Africa and anchovies off the Peruvian coast. Extending or increasing the strength of these upwellings is most likely to lead to predictable fisheries outcomes.


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