September 26, 2017

Announcing the New Bedford Ocean Cluster

New Bedford Ocean Cluster MOU

Above photo: New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell signs an MOU with Thor Sigfusson, founder of the Iceland Ocean Cluster.

On September 21, leaders from the Greater New Bedford commercial fisheries, allied maritime industries, ocean research, tech sector and government officials gathered at the New Bedford Whaling Museum to witness the signing of a memorandum to create an official partnership between New Bedford Harbor Development Commission and the Iceland Ocean Cluster.

The Iceland Ocean Cluster is a marine incubator located in Reykjavik, Iceland that builds and supports a network of entrepreneurs and businesses in the maritime industries to facilitate the creation of new sustainable oceans ideas, research, businesses and markets. At least ten startups have been created in the incubator over the last few years. Among other advances, these startups are redefining ‘whole fish’ processing and creating valuable products for the health care, skin care or nutraceutical markets.

NBOC meeting at ImpactLABS

Meeting at ImpactLABS headquarters prior to signing the MOU.

New Bedford is the Second Cluster to Establish in the US

The New Bedford Ocean Cluster (NBOC) partnership will officially make New Bedford part of a global network of Ocean Clusters, each committed to sharing knowledge and developing business opportunities for their member organizations. ImpactLABS executed an MOU with New Bedford’s Harbor Development Commission, committing ImpactLABS to serving as a core pillar of the New Bedford Ocean Cluster. NBOC will focus on the area’s natural strengths in the commercial fishing industry, fish processing, offshore renewable energy and the developing opportunities for traditional marine businesses in the burgeoning tech segments known as Blue Tech and the Internet of Things (IoT).

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell signed the NBOC MOU with Thor Sigfusson, the Founder and Chairman of the Iceland Ocean Cluster and the Ocean Cluster Network.

Port Director Edward Anthes-Washburn and ImpactLABS Managing Director Chris Rezendes signed a related NBOC MOU.

Working Towards Resilience in New Bedford

During the past two years the City of New Bedford and HDC have been active partners with ImpactLABS, piloting various approaches to deploying digital technologies in and around Greater New Bedford’s maritime communities. Along with critical contributions from University of Massachusetts SMAST, UMASS CIE, New Bedford Economic Development Council and New Bedford Wind Energy Center, MA Department of Fisheries Management, regional NGOs and private sector innovators, the ImpactLABS pipeline of activity will serve as a jump-start to the NBOC portfolio of activities in the coming months.

The first home of the NBOC will be at ImpactLABS headquarters at 555 Pleasant Street in historic downtown New Bedford.