Blue2Green next month

17 July 2017

Prof Chris Battershill

Tauranga will host the International Marine Biotechnology Convention next month, which is being held in New Zealand for the first time.

The ‘Blue2Green Marine Biotechnology Convention’ will take place from August 8–10 in Tauranga and will constitute a joint meeting between the newly formed Australia New Zealand Marine Biotechnology Society (a member of the International Marine Biotechnology Association), the International Conference on Coastal Biotechnology (convened in China), and the New Zealand Aquaculture Science Association. In addition, the Korean Society for Marine Biotechnology will be sending a special delegation.

Chair of Coastal Science at the University of Waikato and Director of the Coastal Marine Field Station Professor Chris Battershill is also the Convention Chair. He says Blue2Green is designed to splice research interests, and explore new opportunities with a central theme of environmental sustainability linked to development of new high-value marine industries.

“This convention will demonstrate how we can harness existing international excellence across marine biotechnological sciences to fast track sustainable wealth creation through novel application of marine biotechnologies, additionally examining how these very technologies can be used to aid repair or to strengthen environments under threat.”

With the Global Marine Biotechnology market predicted to reach $US5.9 billion by 2022* Professor Battershill says the convention is seen as an integral opportunity to strengthen research and development ties amongst the represented Pacific Rim and Australasian countries.

“The convention will allow us to present the latest science and industry updates and highlight the value and impact of the marine biotechnology sector. Many countries, in particular New Zealand and Australia, remain in their infancy in realising the potential of novel marine bioproducts and biotechnologies. Aquaculture targets remain limited and there are increasing issues in-sea and on-land in terms of meeting sustainable production targets for any primary product. In contrast, the science that underpins marine biotechnology has advanced enormously in the last decade, with enhanced knowledge of marine molecular processes, biosynthesis, semi-synthesis, symbiosis, marine microbial science, chemical ecology, physiology, aquaculture husbandry, aqua and agri feeds, biomedical discovery, reproductive biology and genetics.”

Professor Battershill says the convention will provide a rare opportunity for groups carrying out this research to meet and share knowledge.

“We know that through a rich legacy of biodiscovery in the sea, the bioinformatics are available for translational application into other sectors such as agriculture, aquaculture and veterinary sectors.  There is also immediate opportunity in applying biotechnological research to remediate damaged or threatened ecosystems. The convention will bring together research scientist groups that would not ordinarily see one another, as well as providing a platform for a truly international meeting of minds and exploration of opportunity.”

The three-day convention will also include two additional innovation field trip days for delegates to visit industries across the region.

“The field trips are designed to connect the partnership and opportunity dots and highlight the value and impact that the marine biotechnology sector can bring to enhancing ‘blue’ innovation in the region.”

The Blue2Green Convention will be hosted at the Tauranga Yacht Club.  Professor Battershill says the venue ticked all the boxes.

“Where better to host a marine biotech convention with an international line up of speakers and delegates, than right on the harbour’s edge at the Tauranga Yacht Club.  It’s the perfect spot to showcase and celebrate our precious harbour and marine environment.”

The theme of this year’s convention is Toitu te Moana, Toitu te Tangata - Sustainability of the sea, sustainability of the people.  It runs from August 8-10 in Tauranga.  The convention is convened by scientists from the University of Waikato, Priority One, Flinders University, James Cook University, Cawthron Institute, Toi Ohomai, The International Marine Biotechnology Association and the Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research.

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