Sailing towards new horizons


It was a real privilege to be invited to attend a dinner hosted by the team behind the Tall Ship Pelican of London at the end of August this year. The Pelican team have a passionate belief that adventure sailing is a compelling and impactful way of developing young people, releasing their potential and inspiring them with passion for the ocean. Having met five of the young people, fresh back from their most recent voyage it is easy to see why. With an age range of between 15 and 21 the young crew shared stories of their feelings and fears from before the voyage; explaining their nervousness towards a new environment, their lack of confidence and their concerns for the nature of the work on board a tall ship. All of that had gone within the week. We met five confident, bright and articulate young people who had obviously gained a great deal from their time onboard Pelican.

A typical voyage onboard the Pelican of London blends traditional seamanship skill training with hands-on experience of sailing. Alongside this teamwork, leadership and marine science are built into the schedule. The most recent trip was generously supported by Plymouth University through the provision of scientists and equipment that together enabled a number of experiments and data-gathering operations to be conducted during the journey from Plymouth to Cork and back. 

We speak of sustainability a lot in the Blue Economy. Indeed, we at NLAI describe the Blue Economy as sustaining ocean environments and the people and economies that rely upon them. For the Blue Economy to be truly sustained, though, those of us within the domain must take the responsibility of inspiring and engaging future generations of advocates. The Pelican of London team have met this challenge head on.  As well as the immediate personal and social benefits gained by the young participants, the experience opens their eyes to the potential of a career at sea. The impact of this should not be underestimated. In every sector of the EU’s blue economy (except tourism), young people represent less than 10% of total employment – yet demand for new skills, entrepreneurship and innovation is high, so more definitely needs to be done to expose young people to potential ocean-based career routes.

We are delighted to be exploring ways of working with the Pelican of London team as they plan their sailing schedule for the next year. Members of the NLAI team will be supporting learning and events onboard.

The Tall Ship Pelican of London is a registered charity and so is always looking to engage with businesses, academic institutions and other organisations that can support their important and inspiring work or take part in their voyages. To learn more about the Pelican of London please visit their website or make contact directly with us so we can connect you.

Sustainable Arctic Tourism II

NLAI’s Jonathan Turner joined a week long workshop in Iceland earlier this year. The University of Southern Denmark (SDU) and Polar Research and Policy Initiative (PRPI) hosted the event as part of a multi-year, cross-disciplinary international project on Sustainable Tourism Development in the Nordic Arctic, with the support of the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, Nordregio (Nordic Council of Ministers) and University of the Arctic (UArctic). The project also involves the active participation of a number of institutional partners across Europe and North America, including governments, tourism boards, tour operators, universities, think-tanks and foundations. 

The network’s aim is to investigate how to utilise existing human capital, natural resources (especially marine living resources) and infrastructure capacity to develop innovative sustainable tourism that can diversify and make Arctic economic development more resilient. The Blue Economy connections are obvious many of the work shop sessions explored the balance that is being sought between enabling financial prosperity and meeting the needs of the environment and societies.

The workshop was held in Akureyri, Húsavík and Reykjavík from 18-22 March 2019, followed by a high-level dialogue hosted in the Alþingi – the Parliament of Iceland – and a networking reception hosted by the Ambassador of Canada to Iceland, Dr Anne-Tamara Lorre, at her residence in Reykjavík on the last day. The report below provides the aims, objectives and proceedings of the second workshop in Northern Iceland, while the short video offers a visual summary of the workshop. The report and the film were launched formally at a dialogue on Sustainable Arctic Tourism hosted by the Polar Research and Policy Initiative and the University of Southern Denmark at the Embassy of Iceland in London on 26 June 2019.

Watch the short film about the workshop here:

Read the report and proceedings here:

Protecting the silent protector – before it’s too late

Protecting the silent protector – before it’s too late

The plight of the planet’s coral reefs have been thrust once again into the spotlight in recent days. The most eye-catching headlines were also, sadly, the grimmest. A new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) stated that nature is declining at rates not previously witnessed in human history, with plenty of concerning emphasis on the world’s seas and oceans. Launched in Paris, the report was compiled over three years by 450 experts, and draws from over 15,000 scientific and government sources. The authors pulled no punches in asserting that ‘transformative changes’ are required in order to protect and preserve various parts of the natural world.

Aquasense Research

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We’re currently seeking insights from aquaculture and mariculture industry representatives.

If you operate in this sector and would like to complete a short survey or take part in a brief interview please let us know. The survey takes no more than 7mins to complete and is available here.

We’d very much appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the way you operate. In particular we are exploring the extent to which remote sensing is already (and could further) improve efficiency and effectiveness.