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North Atlantic Marine Cluster project

  • Published 16/01/2015
  • Last updated 24/01/2012
The main goal of this project is to map marine clusters in the North Atlantic and strengthen relationships among them, build arenas to communicate their activities, benchmark and develop stronger networks in the ocean/marine sector.

The project is completed. Download the final report here.


Main objectives:

There were two main goals in the project, one short term and the other long term. The primary short-term goal was to build a strong and stable relationship with the clusters and high tech firms around the North Atlantic developing new solutions in niche markets. The long-term goal was to build both a stronger identity of the North Atlantic regions as world class provider of technology for the marine sector and more cooperation in high-cost and high-risk production that take several years to develop and to market.


We have achieved our short term goal of building strong and long lasting relationships within the participating clusters. This was achieved by several meetings, conferences and other events in Iceland, Denmark, Greenland, Maine, Newfoundland and Norway. The strength of the relationship enabled us to work on several short-term projects named “the low hanging fruits” that aid us in achieving our long-term goal of a stronger identity and as a world class provider of technology for the marine sector.



The initial work of the project was to map cluster activities in the North Atlantic and to a certain degree the marine-related industries in the different countries. The report was seen as a basis for further discussion

 about how to increase cooperation between the countries covered in the report. In the report, the focus was both on ocean-/marine related clusters in industries connected to transport by sea and on the exploitation of resources in the ocean and beneath the seabed. The main emphasis was on marine-related food, energy, transportation, biotechnology and research.


The second stage of the project was to start building relationships between the clusters. Formal meeting of the clusters were held in Iceland, Denmark and Norway.


In the initial project proposal, the second phase of the project was called “The low hanging fruits”- seeking the opportunities for cooperation. This is in line with the most important part of cluster models in relations to the relationship building between clusters. Through the concept of the “low hanging fruits”, emphasis is on possible projects, which can lead to positive results in a short period of time.


Concrete results and conclusions:

Overall, the NAOCA project has been a success, paving the way for collaboration across borders and the ocean; expanding the network of all participants, establishing a platform for knowledge sharing and creating new business opportunities in the ocean related industries. Challenges lie ahead in the North Atlantic and the Arctic, but economic growth and business development through sustainable and responsible measures can be achieved in the region. Collaboration of different stakeholders across borders will prove necessary to the realization of this prosperous future. The NAOCA - our mission and the diverse projects we take on - is our contribution to that end.


The next meeting of NAOCA will be held in Iceland October 30, 2014. At the meeting a representative from a new cluster in Maine, will be introduced as a new member. A project in Maine with the aim of building a sister house to the Ocean Cluster House in Iceland will also be introduced. This house is estimated to be around 2500 sqm and open a great opportunity to increase collaboration between New England and the Nordic region. Other projects ongoing as a result of the NAOCA project are: The Green Fishing Vessel with participation of companies from Iceland and Norway, development of Arctic Oil and Gas cluster in cooperation with in Denmark and their sister company in Greenland, Project sharing and Turning Waste into Value meeting series.



We see a great opportunity in strengthening relationships with North America in ocean related affairs.  NAOCA has been received very favorably in both Canada and the US.  The project leaders have also been in relationships with Alaska and through these relationships, we see an opportunity in extending our network to the Arctic.  Pan-Atlantic projects are still difficult to finance as most European project emphasize on European partnership. There is an opportunity in the European-North American relationships in ocean affairs, which should be prioritized.



Project owner:

Vilhjalmur Arnason
Iceland Ocean Cluster - Business Research Institute at the University of Iceland, IS


Project leader:

Thor Sigfusson
Iceland Ocean Cluster, IS


Project members:

Vilhjalmur Arnason
Iceland Ocean Cluster, IS
Eirikur Ingolfsson
Netspor/Faveo prosjektledelse AS, NO
Robert Wolff
SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture Ltd., NO
Les O’Reilly
Oceans Advance Inc., New Foundland., CA
Jógvan Jespersen
Nótaskip, FO

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Nordic Marine Innovation Programme


See the Combined list of the projects in the programme

A main premise of the marine innovation program is to have businesses take ownership and an active role in the projects.


Enhance the innovation capability in the Nordic marine sector and thereby its profitability and competitiveness in a global market

Visualise the sector as an interesting sector with huge potential


Strengthen and establish B2B og B2R cooperation and support Nordic ”value chains” – horizontal and vertical


Create platform for multi-disciplinary/sectoral cooperation


Cooperation with Canada


Create Nordic value through more cooperation between Nordic and national innovation agencies


Emphasis on:

- Industry needs and active  
- Concrete results and activities
   close to market
- Sustainability
- Innovation knowledge