ARC Marine, who have invented a pioneering system for building artificial reefs, have received a Rapid Innovation Grant from Marine-i to enable them to progress to the next stage of their project.
Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i is designed to help the marine tech sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly grow through harnessing the full potential of research and innovation.
ARC Marine’s system for building artificial reefs is called Reef Cubes. This patented invention is a robust and simple interlocking modular system that is said to be ideal for restoring complex marine environments. It has a wide range of applications, but one of its most important roles is to help protect vulnerable fish stocks and other marine species whose habitats are at risk.
Tom Birbeck, director of ARC Marine, explains:
“Much of our world’s fisheries are now over exploited. Unless the current situation improves, there is a real danger that stocks of all the species that we rely on for food could collapse within 30 years. Our reefs can protect the aquaculture which many of these precious species rely on. These include scallops, crabs, lobsters and shoal fish – all very important commercial species.”
Professor Lars Johanning of the University of Exeter, who leads the Marine-i team, says:
“ARC Marine have developed an excellent strategy and business plan for their technology. This is a product that has applications around the world and is rich in opportunity. ARC Marine’s Rapid Innovation Grant of £2,000 will enable them to purchase the diving equipment they need to carry out extended mooring and installation trials in preparation for a full commercial launch.”
“With the excellent help and support of the Marine-i team, we have ambitions to become the industry leaders in marine eco-engineering and conservation projects, operating from our base at Penryn in Cornwall. In addition to the grant support, we have received outstanding advice and insights from the Marine-i experts and their associates. For a young company like ours, that is simply invaluable,” Tom Birbeck adds.