Vanuatu business finalist in global sustainable seafood contest

Vanuatu is one of three Pacific Island countries amongst the 40 finalists from across the globe to pitch to investors at the Fish 2.0 Innovation Forum.

Shepherd Islands Organic Seafood owner, Obed Timakata said: “I was overwhelmed when I got the news that I’m a Fish 2.0 2017 competition finalist.

“I am very grateful for all the support provided by Pacific Trade Invest Australia in bringing back Fish 2.0 to the Pacific. It’s an absolute valuable program indeed.

“I’m very excited to be representing Vanuatu at the 2017 Fish 2.0 Innovation Forum Finals in November.”

The other finalists are Didao Fishing Company from Solomon Islands and Indigo Seafood of Palau.

The Forum will take place on November at the Stanford University in America, a culminating event in the Fiji 2.0 2017 competition for sustainable seafood businesses.

Prior to this event, the Fish 2.0 workshop was held in Suva last year.

Out of the 184 entrants, 40 finalists were selected based on their market traction and high potential for impact in the seafood sector.

The Pacific Trade Invest Australia (PTI Australia), sponsors of the Forum, were thrilled with the selection of the three Pacific Island countries.

PTI Australia general manager investment and tourism Chad Morris said PTI Australia understands the importance of the ocean and sustainable fishing to the Pacific Islands which is why they got behind Fish 2.0 bringing the competition back to the Pacific Islands.

“To see how the enterprises have developed and grown since the Fish 2.0 workshop held in Suva, Fiji last year is immense.

“PTI Australia decided to come onboard as a sponsor for Fish 2.0 as we could see the value for Pacific Island fishing enterprises. The opportunity that’s ahead for the three Pacific Island finalists is huge. We will be travelling to Stanford and will run a preparatory workshop for the Pacific Island finalists to ensure they are ready to make the most of this opportunity,” said Mr Morris.

At the Innovation Forum, the 24 highest scorers will give 3-minute pitches to panels of expert judges.

They will present in four groups: ventures taking pressure off wild fisheries; aquaculture production and related technologies; transparency, traceability and fisheries technology; and supply chain innovations, including new paths to market for fishers.

The winners will receive cash prizes.

The remaining 16 finalists will give 90-second pitches directly to the audience of 300 seafood experts and investors who come to Fish 2.0 to share knowledge and find opportunities.

In addition, all finalists are eligible for ICX (Industry Connection) prizes, which provide exceptional networking and mentoring opportunities.

Fish 2.0 founder and executive director Monica Jain said this group of finalists have been the “strongest group ever” and that the level of innovation was potentially both system-changing and profitable.

 “We are seeing the rise of ‘seatech’ – new monitoring, visibility, production and processing tools for the seafood industry as well as other advances that remove barriers to growth and sustainability for fishers, farmers and buyers throughout the value chain,” Jain said.

Pacific Islands Forum Leaders, through the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, have sought to address the sustainable development of the region’s fisheries. In 2015 they called for a sustainable increase in the economic returns from the sector. In 2016, the Leaders highlighted the importance of strengthening support for and resourcing coastal fisheries. In 2017, the Leaders reiterated fisheries as a priority for the region.

Forum Secretariat Director Programmes and Initiatives, Shiu Raj, said the region was richer with initiatives like Fish 2.0 which provided a platform to incubate and nurture sustainable fisheries businesses.

“It is our expectation that this innovative competition will serve to strengthen existing fisheries businesses, catalyse new and more resilient enterprises and strengthen existing business models,” Raj said.

“Fish 2.0 offers a bridge between the region’s fisheries objectives, the private sector and industry experts. This proven tripartite approach is one that has already yielded benefits and can serve as a model to be replicated in other sectors of strategic interest to our region.”...


Photo PTI, Caption: Obed Timakata, owner of Shepherd Islands Organic Seafood with his sea urchins.