Export Barbados (BIDC) is working on developing a solid Ocean Economy portfolio for Barbados.
The disclosure has come from Minister of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology Davidson Ishmael, during the recently held closing ceremony for the Oceans Challenge. The Oceans Challenge was a collaboration between Export Barbados and the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility.
According to Minister Ishmael, there is scope for employment, job enhancement, venture creation, and the advent of new industrial sub-sectors, and ultimately exports within the Blue Economy. As such, he stated that the Oceans Challenge is just one of the first steps by his Ministry towards facilitating increased investment in the sector.
“We are confident that there are significant under-tapped and as yet untapped resources within our waters and related industries which we can explore”.
The Minister explained that the Ocean Economy is one of three strategic pillars under Export Barbados, and the Corporation is currently executing two pilot projects in that area. They are:
- The development of a sea moss industry to create value-added products beyond the traditional sea moss drinks, such as nutraceuticals and health and wellness products
- A wave energy project through a Netherlands-based firm with expertise in wave energy. The project explores a new clean energy source in keeping with the Government’s vision to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels by 2030.
Additionally, he revealed that the Government is also advancing plans to explore other opportunities in ocean energy, looking at such areas as the production of hydrogen, ocean thermal energy conversion and the conversion of Sargassum seaweed into biofuel.
On top of energy, he said his Ministry sees the need to support businesses interested in areas such as mariculture development, sustainable fisheries, marine biotechnology, waste management and data collection. All of these areas, he said, were among Barbados’ national priorities for the Challenge.