Living marine resources have the potential for developing new food, biochemical, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and bioenergy applications. AOC offers support and development opportunities for blue biotech innovation in these and other sectors. The Alaska Ocean Cluster has identified three thematic areas; contributing to product innovation and differentiation; marine environment exploration; biomass production and processing and establishing enabling technologies and infrastructure to support growth in Alaska’s bioeconomy.
Four Elements to Our Research and Development Model
- We support and develop biotech research in Alaska. Globally, over 18,000 products have been developed from about 4,800 marine organisms, with an annual growth rate of 4%. The global market for marine biotechnology is projected to reach $7 billion by 2026, driven by investments in biocosmetics, emerging research in the area of biomaterials and biopharmaceuticals.
- We work to significantly increase fisheries values by increasing fisheries utilization rates by 20-30%. We accomplish this by supporting strategic management combined with deliberate and coherent efforts to maximize utilization rates to support sustained biomass and ecosystem health and increase revenue potential while minimizing the potential for over harvest and waste associated lost revenue.
- We support R&D in renewable and biofuel energy. Coastal Alaska has 33% of the U.S. EEZ. With that comes enormous research opportunities in mechanically derived wind, tidal, wave, and hydrogen energy. Additionally, microalgae and other living ocean resources are providing new opportunities in biofuels research.
- We work to support research to reduce fish waste and create pathways for adding value. Each year US fishermen throw out about 2bn lbs. of bycatch in addition to millions more lbs. of processing waste from guts, tails, bones, fins, heads, and shells. In Alaska, costs, lack of markets, and tight margins are cited as complicating factors. With innovations and the creation of new markets, we support R&D and the creation of markets for chitosan, high-grade leathers, food products, biotech, algae conversion, and other products.