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research and innovation

In order to develop, microalgae require heat, water, nutrients and sunlight—all of which New Caledonia has in abundance. As they grow, microalgae demonstrate an incredible capacity to absorb carbon dioxide in greater proportions than large plants and trees. They can also produce nutrients and chemical substances, which could find applications in the fields of human or animal nutrition and cosmetics. This project is a completely natural choice for New Caledonia, as the AMICAL project partner explains: ‘In New Caledonia, the development of aquaculture is a priority,’ remarks André Carpentier, the IFREMER Local Delegate. With a team of 30 scientists, ‘IFREMER provides its scientific support for research ADECAL in the field of aquaculture.’ In Koné, in the Northern Province, where construction of a pilot microalgae production unit has been launched by the Technopole, another fascinating project is also under examination. It plans to use microalgae to remedy the carbon dioxide emissions from the coal-fired power station for the Koniambo nickel project. Credit: ADECAL

Fishing has long been an ancient tradition in the life of the island inhabitants. In New Caledonia, commercial activity in this sector is divided between small-scale coastal fisheries and an industrial deep-sea fishery, targeting tuna.This activity, which today produces marketed volumes of around 4,000 tonnes, has benefited since the 1990s from the work of the ZoNéCo program, located at the interface between research and development. Today, the program is part of the Technopole’s Marine Division. ‘Having contributed to the acquisition of solid knowledge about the marine resources and their environment, current projects focus on research into aquaculture, which benefits the technical centres, the institutional partners of the Technopole and the private sector,’ explains Manuel Ducrocq, of the Marine Centre. As for new ways of adding value to marine resources, the Technopole Marine Centre is also behind two projects aiming to develop future industries in New Caledonia. Thus, the New Caledonian Centre for Development and Transfer in Marine Aquaculture is currently conducting research into the reproduction and breeding of local coral reef fish species intended both for local consumption and export. ‘Once again, our objective is to share the results of our experiments with the private sector,' explains Bruno Noguerra, Director of the Centre. ‘The initial results are encouraging and today we have a pilot farm on the East Coast.’ A second marine project, called AMICAL, aims to take advantage of another benefit not lacking in New Caledonia: sunlight. Part of the old Noumea Aquarium has been rehabilitated and now hosts a laboratory run by the Technopole in partnership with IFREMER. A team there is studying the potential of microscopic marine organisms: microalgae.

Credit: ADECAL

Fisheries and aquaculture