Blue Economy Symposium and Learning Festival, 19.-22. May – Fort Bragg Advocate News

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Two events over four days: The Blue Economy Symposium, which will be streamed live on Thursday and Friday; & Learning Festival, citywide activities that take place on Saturdays and Sundays. The purpose of the event is to start a regional community conversation about how opportunities within the “Blue Economy” could transform our regional economy – improving livelihoods while supporting healthy marine ecosystems. This important conversation needs everyone around the table, so please remember to tune in to the symposium on the city’s website, via Zoom or on Facebook (the replay will be archived on the city’s website) and participate in the many activities taking place over the weekend occur.

The symposium is the result of a collaboration between the City of Fort Bragg and California Sea Grant focused on exploring the needs and potential for developing a resilient and vibrant blue economy in and around Fort Bragg. The first day of the symposium will focus on city and port infrastructure needs, discussions with commercial/recreational fishermen and associated companies on sustainable blue economies, followed by reflections on education, entrepreneurship and employment training to support the growth of a blue economy. The second day explores the potential of developing an aquaculture innovation center in the region. The speakers will present information on various aspects of current and potential aquaculture activities elsewhere in California that are restorative and/or commercial in nature.

The Learning Festival was coordinated by the Noyo Ocean Collective, a unique partnership bringing together the City of Fort Bragg, the Noyo Harbor District, the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Mendocino College, the West Business Development Center and the Noyo Center for Marine Science . It includes activities for all ages and all are free! Check the website for a detailed list (https://visitfortbraggca.com/blue-economy/). Activities include guided walks to identify native plants and bird watching stations along the coastal path, open house exhibits at the Mendocino College Coast Center, presentations on coho salmon and the Pudding Creek watershed, Hare Creek stewardship opportunities, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Coast Guard boat tours Noyo Harbor Fish Market and more!

In many ways, our region has always been involved in the blue economy, with a rich history in commercial fishing, seafood processing, shipbuilding, recreation, tourism, etc. However, many new opportunities are emerging in response to the impacts of climate change and as a Technological innovation follows, including aquaculture, renewable energy, mitigation banks, marine cleantech, marine biotechnology and more. These emerging industries could become economic engines for our region, and if we work together to make necessary infrastructure improvements, promote STEM education in our K-12, develop workforce education programs, and support and attract entrepreneurs, we can improve the quality of life improve for our community, keep our coastline running while nurturing healthy marine ecosystems.

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