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Show news archive Sustainability – in our everyday life

Business Development Greenland

The option to continuously commercialize new species depends to a large extent on being able to link theory and practice and perform experiments close to the raw material on a daily basis.

In November 2013, Royal Greenland founded a business development department in Greenland with the purpose of examining the potential for commercializing new species. Nikoline Ziemer, who has a master’s degree in Biology from the University of Copenhagen, is in charge of both theoretical and practical aspects of the department.

The waters surrounding Greenland holds a wealth of species and organisms, where some are not yet commercialized. It is species such as whelk, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and seaweed that are all available on the world market today, but where Royal Greenland’s share is either very limited or non-existent.

Nikoline Ziemer is based at our head office in Nuuk, where she works with theoretic and scientific aspects concerning the development of new species. She studies scientific literature, gathers insight on experiences and processes from other similar projects and outlines project descriptions and business case models for use when documenting field work. Besides this, the department is an eager participant in relevant fora for research within development of species - in many cases together with other developers or scientists from the northern countries.

Trial fishery, cultivation and tests are for seasonal reasons in Greenland mainly done during the summer season. The calendar is often full of field work on development projects during the spring and summer. The field work is located in close proximity to our locations along the west coast of Greenland, where Royal Greenland has factories or landing facilities for fish and shellfish.

Three projects

During the first years, three development projects have been of particular interest; sea urchins, sea cucumbers and cultivation of seaweed.

In Asia, the gonads from sea urchins are considered a delicacy. Sea urchins are common along the shores of Greenland and the business development department has made trial fisheries and trial productions. It has proven difficult to succeed with the project, because it requires a lot of manual work and because of a lack of technological solutions to extract the gonads.  

Sea cucumbers are likewise considered a delicacy in Asia, where the dried molluscs are wrapped in extravagant boxes and sold at soaring prices.  The department made the initial analytics of prevalence for the species as well as the preferred seabed and depth for sea cucumbers back in 2017.  In 2019 Royal Greenland was granted a trial licence in certain areas between Ikerssarsuk and Nuuk. Together with Royal Greenland’s M/tr Sermilik, Nikoline Ziemer spent several weeks on a systemic trial fishery, that was the foundation for applying for a fishing permit, that is still pending.

The aquaculture project with seaweed has been refined over several years but are still years from being commercialized. Initially Nikoline Ziemer worked with a research network from The Nordic Council and EU to gain insight into the biology of seaweed, cultivation methods and experience with trial cultivation. The first small scale trials with cultivating seaweed was initiated in 2018. Now, in 2020, seaweed is farmed in slightly bigger scale in the waters just outside Maniitsoq but still with the main purpose of analysis and market tests.

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