Bioasis Gran Canaria, an initiative to generate “blue” business

Gran Canaria is known internationally as one of the great centres for knowledge generation in aquaculture and blue biotechnology, partly owing to more than 30 years of research efforts and the magnificent climatic conditions for marine life the island affords us. Various species are already being produced commercially in Canary waters and there is, increasingly, a clear tendency to start cultivating ashore.

The Blue Biotechnology and Aquaculture Platform has been transformed into Bioasis Gran Canaria to establish it as promoter of blue biotechnology and aquaculture in Gran Canaria, via an important public inter-institutional collaboration with the participation of the Gran Canaria Island Council (Cabildo) through its Corporation for the Economic Development of Gran Canaria (SPEGC), the Canary Islands Technology Institute (ITC) and the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), through the Spanish Algae Bank (BEA) and the Institute for Sustainable Aquaculture (IU-ECOAQUA).

Bioasis Gran Canaria aims to give firms in the industry facilities and access to a series of advantages whose absence remained up to now an obstacle to starting any activity in relation to farming of marine species. In addition to conventional farming of fish, molluscs and crustaceans, the Platform pays special attention to production and processing of microalgae which, through the extraction of its bioactive components, result in products with a high added value that can be used in different industries.

The initiative is aimed at all those entrepreneurs who have a viable project to add value and generate economy, whether for new food supplements, drugs, cosmetic products or simply farming of human consumption species such as shrimps, haliotis and abalone, including macro-algae and aquariology.

Bioasis can be considered a one-stop shop where advice is provided by more than 50 experts, putting knowledge into practice through agreements for the transfer of technology and thanks to the technical support of professionals. The Platform also acts as an information point for the legal framework applicable to the industry, as a point for internationalisation or simply to help with the search for support for drafting business plans, studying the economic-financial viability of the project or searching for funding.

One of the strong points of the Platform, via the infrastructure projects that are already ongoing, is the availability of spaces and equipment firms can use through the project incubation programmes. Thanks to a specific infrastructure plan, it is proposed to improve and develop already existing development centres and create new areas, all concentrated in the Southeast of Gran Canaria.

Within the activities of the ULPGC, new training programmes are intended in this field of knowledge, such as the new University Expert in Algae Biotechnology and the establishment of the Master in Marine Farming.

The Bioasis team hopes to see soon the first results of this initiative which opens up a window of opportunity and new business tendencies in Gran Canaria. This Platform, via a blue transition, will bring us closer to a sustainable future boosting the primary sector and diversifying the island’s economy. As the motto of the Applied Algology Group, of what was then the Polytechnic University of Gran Canaria, indicated already in 1985, “with sunshine and seawater more than just tourists can be cultivated”.