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Story of the year: Oceans

Monday, July 23, 2018

We see tremendous opportunity in collaboration. The Ocean Supercluster will create an integrated network of relationships amongst industry, regulators, researchers, technology developers, and policy-makers. Canada’s Ocean Supercluster based here in Atlantic Canada will generate $300 million in investment in the next five years. That funding will contribute to changing the capacity for innovation in the region.

Chris Huskilson, Former CEO Emera

Ocean technology in Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia, the sea is where we learn, innovate, chart our course, and succeed. Over and under its waves, Nova Scotians connect the world, harness energy and harvest food, patrol Canada’s boundaries, learn about our natural world, and explore uncharted depths.

From the Cape Islander to the Bluenose to hydrophones so sensitive they can hear a whale song from hundreds of miles away, Nova Scotia has led the world in ocean technology for centuries. This spirit of innovation drives the sector today.

The Ocean Supercluster

It’s hard to pick a single year out of centuries of living and working on the ocean, but future Nova Scotians may look back on 2018 as one for the books in ocean technology. In February, the Government of Canada and the private sector announced the creation of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster. This collaboration will build Canada’s ocean economy into one of our most significant and sustainable economic sectors. The Supercluster represents a combined investment of up to $500 million from public and private sources in ocean technology.

The ocean accounts for 15% of Nova Scotia’s GDP and one-third of R&D spending. The investment, collaboration, and innovation that will be spurred by the Ocean Supercluster is a huge opportunity that will create economic and educational spin-offs for all Nova Scotians.

It’s also a huge opportunity for exporters and attracting global businesses here to Nova Scotia.

Unlimited (and sustainable) potential

The world depends on the oceans. In 2010 the OECD estimated the value of the world’s ocean economy to be at least $1.5 trillion USD, and projected growth of over $3 trillion by 2030. And in 2015 the World Wildlife Fund estimated the total asset value of the ocean to be at least $24 trillion. 

There are over 300 companies in Nova Scotia’s ocean technology sector and most of them are innovators. Nova Scotia’s top oceans export markets are the US, the UK, China, and Norway. We support new and established exporters who create new and exciting ways to benefit from, protect, and sustain the sea that surrounds us.


Entrepreneurs are at the core of Nova Scotia’s ocean technology renaissance, and the epicentre of that renaissance is the Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship (COVE)

COVE is Nova Scotia’s collaborative space for ocean technology businesses, start-ups, researchers, and marine-based and service businesses. It’s where startups and SME’s can collaborate, conduct research, get guidance, and be inspired. It provides direct access to the ocean, testing facilities, and post-secondary and government research centres. 

Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI)

The OFI is a $220 million project for ocean science. It brings together researchers and institutes from around the world to understand the ocean and create sustainable developments and solutions.

Where NSBI fits in

NSBI’s interactions are multi-faceted. NSBI works to connect ocean technology, aerospace and defence, clean technology, life sciences, ICT, and big data with opportunities in global markets and with investors. Our companies are global leaders in ocean-related business, and we support them as they grow, create new products and services, and explore new export markets. Through trade missions and programs like our Innovation Rebate Program and the Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program, our programs and services help exporters succeed and drive growth in our ocean economy.