A source for Arctic optimism: The Blue Bioeconomy

Date and Time: Tuesday, 28 January 2020, 16:15-17:45
The blue bioeconomy has the potential to be a major contributor to achieving sustainable development in the Arctic and beyond. The term “blue bioeconomy” refers to sustainably maximising the value and use of aquatic bioresources using innovative processing methods. It is a source for great optimism for the circumpolar region.
Today, estimates reveal that up to 43% of captured fish and shellfish resources end up either as wastage or discarded material. This means that companies are throwing away 43% of the biomass that could potentially generate substantial profits by developing methods for turning “waste” into high value products for food, feed, bio-products and bioenergy sectors. The blue bioeconomy is a kind of back to basics thinking in the sense that it revolves around making the most of available resources, and maximizing the value of and revenue from marine catches while minimizing waste and negative environmental impacts of marine operations.
This side event at the Arctic Frontiers conference brings together representatives of the Icelandic Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (sharing best practices from blue bioeconomy in Iceland), project leads of the Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group (leading the Arctic Council’s first project on blue bioeconomy), representatives of the indigenous organizations holding Permanent Participant status in the Arctic Council and representatives from the Arctic Economic Council.
The session is divided into two parts: an expert panel and an interactive workshop.

During the first 45 min, experts will set the scene by exploring questions such as: What can modern businesses learn from traditional livelihoods of inhabitants of the Arctic? How can bioeconomy positively influence business behaviour? How can it contribute to increased societal resilience? How can blue bioeconomy in the Arctic serve as a model for other regions?
The second part of the side event will engage participants in a world café workshop to foster discussion and allow participants to provide direct input into the Blue Bioeconomy in the Arctic Region project. Preliminary topics are:
  • Policy and regulation (obtaining licenses and permits)
  • Business development (funding mechanisms and investments)
  • Biomass supply and logistics (challenges related to distances and seasonality)
  • Research infrastructure, cooperation and talented workforce
In addition to registering through Arctic Frontiers participants are encouraged to show their interest in the event by signing up here (http://bit.ly/Arctic_Frontiers_AC-side-event) in order to ensure that the workshop can be designed to benefit from the expertise and areas of interests of participants.

  • Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson, Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials
  • Dr. Bryndís Björnsdóttir, Head of Industry Solutions, Icelandic Food and Biotech R&D
  • Dr. David Natcher, University of Saskatchewan, College of Agriculture and Bioresources
  • Liza Mack, Executive Director of Aleut International Association
  • Dr. Øyvind Fylling-Jensen, Administrative Director at Nofima

Speakers’ bios

Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson, Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials
Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson has been working with MFA's Arctic Affairs Division since August 2018 preparing for Iceland's Chairmanship. Prior to that he served as Iceland's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York from 2015 where he, amongst other responsibilities, chaired the Third Committee of the General Assembly during its 72nd session. Mr. Gunnarsson was the Permanent Secretary of State of the MFA from 2009 until 2014, dealing with the aftermath of the economic crisis of 2008. Before serving as Permanent Secretary of State Mr. Gunnarsson held various positions in the Icelandic Foreign Service, such as Director of International Trade Negotiations, Director of Personnel, Deputy Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Geneva, Counsellor at the Mission of Iceland to the EU in Brussels, Counsellor in the External Trade Department and Legal Advisor in the Defence Department in the MFA.
After finishing his law studies from the University of Iceland in 1992 Mr. Gunnarsson worked as a lawyer and a District Court Advocate at a private law firm in Reykjavik until he joined the Foreign Service in 1996.

Dr. David Natcher, University of Saskatchewan, College of Agriculture and Bioresources
David Natcher is a Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Natcher serves on the Social, Economic, Cultural Expert Group for the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group and is the Canadian appointment to the International Arctic Science Committee – Social and Human Working Group. Dr. Natcher is also the Lead for the University of the Arctic’s Thematic Network on Arctic Food Security.
Dr. Bryndís Björnsdóttir, Head of Industry Solutions, Icelandic Food and Biotech R&D
Dr. Bryndis Bjornsdottir is a bioeconomy expert and the head of industry solutions at Matis, Iceland. The role of Matis is to increase the value, sustainable and circular use of biological resources, as well as to ensure the safety and quality of the end-products. Bryndis has a PhD degree in biotechnology and microbiology and has worked on various bioeconomy related projects, with emphasis on the blue bioeconomy. Bryndís has led and participated in bioeconomy policy making and consulting, identification of regional opportunities, stakeholder engagements, as well as R&D projects developing novel products and increasing value from blue and green biomass, both nationally and internationally. She currently leads NordMar BioRefine, a project focused on enhancing the Nordic blue bioeconomy, supported by the NCM (2019-2021), and Blue Bioeconomy in the Arctic Region, an SDWG supported project (2019-2020).

Liza Mack, Executive Director of Aleut International Association
Liza Mack is Aleut, born and raised in the Aleutians and has over 20 years experience working in and around Native organizations and communities. She is a PhD Candidate in the Indigenous Studies Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). Her dissertation research focuses on natural resource management, knowledge transfer and engagement of Native communities in the regulatory process. She has an A.A. in Liberal Arts from UAS Sitka, a B.A. and M.S. in Anthropology from Idaho State University. She has taught Native Cultures of Alaska and Intro to Unangam Tunuu as an adjunct instructor at UAF.  She is familiar with the local, regional, state, federal and international board processes that take place in Alaska and the Circumpolar North. She values the importance of engaging Native people in these settings.

Dr. Øyvind Fylling-Jensen, Managing Director/CEO of Nofima AS
Dr. Øyvind Fylling-Jensen is the Managing Director/CEO of Nofima AS. He is educated as a veterinary and holds a PhD in Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Øyvind Fylling-Jensen worked as assistant professor at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, before he started to work for the industry in 1986. He has a broad experience from biotechnology, diagnostic and pharmaceutical industry, and from the aquaculture industry. Previous positions include Vice-CEO of Dynal, Managing Director of Fürst Medical Laboratory, Sales- and Marketing Director of Alpharma and responsible for Fjord Seafood’s aquaculture activities, world-wide. Since 2005, Dr. Øyvind Fylling-Jensen is the Managing Director of Nofima Mat AS. He also serves as the chairman of the board of Bioparken AS and the Food Programme of the ResearchCouncil of Norway. In 2019, he became a member of the Portfolio Board of LifeSciences at Research Council Norway.