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The world’s oceans – their temperature, chemistry, currents and life – drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are all ultimately provided and regulated by the sea. Throughout history, oceans and seas have been vital conduits for trade and transportation.

Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future. However, there is a continuous deterioration of coastal waters having deleterious effects on ecosystems, biodiversity and small-scale fisheries.

“Can we inspire other seafood nations to follow the Icelandic example: creating more value in seafood through innovation and collaboration?” This is the question Dr. Thor Sigfusson, founder of the Iceland Ocean Cluster tackles in his new book: “The New Fish Wave” describes how the Iceland Ocean Cluster has inspired more innovation and entrepreneurship in the global seafood industry: doing more with less to create value from fish byproducts and to build sustainable global fisheries. The world can learn from Iceland, the small fishing nation in the North Atlantic – which has in many ways transformed itself from being one of the poorest countries in the world a century ago to becoming a niche leader in fish and one of the richest nations in the world. Iceland is a nation which has shown pride in its seafood industry and uses new innovation to safeguard the environment, create wealth, derive more value from each fish and manage fisheries in a sustainable way.

The Iceland Ocean Cluster (IOC) began as a research project at the University of Iceland and has become a vital part of the “new“ seafood industry in Iceland where cross-pollination is the key; bringing new knowledge and experience into a traditional nature-based industry. The IOC has become a catalyst of change in the seafood industry in Iceland, and Sigfusson’s “The New Fish Wave” describes how a cluster can become an agent of change for a natural industry like the seafood industry. Since the opening of the Iceland Ocean Cluster, sister clusters have opened in Portland, Maine, New Bedford, Massachusetts and Seattle, Washington—all established to drive innovation and collaboration in the marine industry.

“The New Fish Wave” offers a reader a step-by-step guide  on how to ignite dynamic networking of people and ideas  to make way for further innovation, product development and value creation.

Our greatest success will probably be where we connect veteran fishermen with R&D people who have never been on board a fishing vessel!“

The new fish wave is just emerging globally: a growing awareness of the importance of healthy oceans and a greater understanding of the health benefits of natural ocean proteins. There is a global interest by fishing nations to do more with less and to stop discarding large parts of the fish. Clusters play an important role in this new movement; to connect people with often very different backgrounds, making the most out of a single resource: in this case 100% utilization of the catch.

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