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AVA Ocean: reinventing seabed harvesting


Ava is an old biblical term that means ‘living, breathing’. When used in the context of an innovative Norwegian ocean technology and seafood company, it refers to the living, breathing ocean. “There are so many high-value resources lying on the seabed. We believe that if we are to close the food gap, we need to utilise those high-value resources in a sustainable way,” explains Øystein Tvedt, CEO of Ava Ocean. Founded in Ålesund, Norway, in 2016, Ava Ocean is developing new ways of harvesting the abundant seafood resources of the seabed, in a gentle, yet effective manner.


“Scallop dredging technology has been banned in Norway since 1992,” he says. “But there are still (globally) over 1000 vessels out there using dredging across the oceans.” Dredging is a blanket ‘solution’ that destroys the seabed and everything in its path to get at the scallops. Instead, Ava has taken very advanced technologies used in the oil and gas industries and converted them to fishing, to collect scallops in a sustainable way: “Our harvesting units operate just above the seabed. A pumping solution creates a water flow, lifting the scallops into the basket with little to no damage to the seabed. A sorting mechanism can also return non-scallops to the seabed and there’s camera technology so we can see where it’s best to harvest. We call it precision harvesting. With AI, we can even live monitor the harvesting and collect data from the seabed. It helps us target the areas better, which is an important competitive advantage in making this type of fishery more efficient.”


Competitive advantage is key as Øystein and company try to revolutionise this segment of the fisheries industry. “We’re seeing that the industry is very interested in this better, modern, sustainable solution to harvesting. But it needs to compete with the dredge when it comes to efficiency and cost, and it needs to be scalable.” After five years developing their solution, since December 2022, the Arctic Pearl is the first vessel with this technology on board.

The sustainability of this solution is something that didn’t go unnoticed, attracting the likes of Ocean14, a specialised venture capital firm backed by the EIF under the EU’s Investment Plan for Europe, who made an equity investment in the company. “Talking to Ocean14, seeing the way they think, their purpose, their position in the blue economy, believing in sustainable fisheries and the way they’ve been working with fisheries, we saw that they could be a great investor and partner for us, trying to expand our solution out into the world. It was a perfect match,” Øystein explains.

As the company aims for its second project in 2024, they are acutely aware that effecting real change in an industry as traditional as fisheries will take time and needs to be managed carefully. “It’s all about theory of change, how to manage to have sustainable long-term change. We’re working really hard on doing that the proper way. We need to go forward and find solutions that work for fishermen, and we need to do it in a collaborative, thorough, step by step manner.”

Company: AVA Ocean

Type of business: fisheries

Financial Intermediary: Ocean14

Number of employees: 65

EIF financing: EFSI

Note: Following the recent withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, we are updating the relevant EIF.org pages.


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