Haik van Exel is the Managing Director at Hortimare. Hortimare produces high quality seedlings to enable seaweed farmers to harvest good yields. Hortimare advises, supports and collaborates closely with seaweed farmers in order for them to expand and scale up to essential volumes to make seaweed a competitive alternative for land-based products.
At Hortimare we believe that sustainable and circular approaches are the only possible future for our planet. The global demand for food and industrial raw materials is growing fast and subsequently the pressure on land by extensive agriculture and exhausting raw materials rises, causing ecological disasters and political instability. Seaweed can be a realistic alternative for land-based products in many ways if we learn to scale up production at sea.
Bert Groenendaal obtained his PhD in polymer chemistry in 1996 at the Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands). After a postdoctoral fellowship (1997) at the University of California at Berkeley he moved to industry (Bayer AG and Agfa-Gevaert NV, resp.) Since 2008 Bert is active at SIOEN Industries NV as R&D project coordinator, being responsible for all external projects (Flemish and European) for the company. Since 2020 Bert also works as an independent consultant for companies involved in aquaculture in general and in seaweed farming in particular. Bert was co-founder of ATSEA Technologies (now ATSEA Nova), being a dynamic SME focused on exploiting large scale seaweed farms across the world.
Dr Zalina Dzhatieva
With an MSc in Mining and PhD in Marine Geophysics, Zalina was involved in project management and business development with academia and social enterprise, mining and O&G service industries. She currently works as Economic Growth Officer for Argyll and Bute Council. Main responsibilities include delivery of the sustainable growth of Argyll and Bute economy with a focus on maximising opportunities in the food and drink, aquaculture and marine science sectors.
Sigurbjorg is the founder and CEO of SjøBjørg AS, a Norwegian company that was the winner of the Natural & Organic Awards, Scandinavia 2019, Best New Sustainable Product. Sigurbjorg is Icelandic and was raised in a small coastal community. She says the beach is her favourite place and she has had a big interest in seaweed for many years. While still living in Iceland she started her business on a very small scale giving seaweed to family and friends mainly in the form of meal and home-made seaweed baths. When she and her husband, also Icelandic, moved to Norway in 2016 she decided it was time to take her ideas and production to the next stage, setting up SjøBjørg AS.
I have >25 years experience in industrial manufacturing working mainly for Cargill and Bunge Ltd. In my last role for Bunge I was VP of Industrial Operations for EMEA and had responsibility for approx 40 sites, with an annual operating budget of $500m and Capex of $150m.
I am a Chemical Engineer with a MSC in Occupational Psychology. I like rugby, fly fishing and growing vegetables and I have 3 children, 2 dogs, 7 chickens, 80,000 honey bees and 1 wife.
Dr Will Munro
Dr Will Munro is a Senior Scientific Adviser at Food Standards Scotland and specialises in chemical, radiological and environmental food safety. Dr Munro has over 20 years of food safety experience and has a PhD in Radioecology from Imperial College.
Pierre Erwes is an entrepreneur and oceanographer with later specialization in IT and marketing, with over thirty years of international experience, primarily in the areas of marine bio resources and biotechnologies. In 2008, he launched BioMarine the international platform dedicated to marine bio-resources. In June 2018, Pierre Erwes started raising the first blue investment fund dedicated to the blue bio economy. After the last BioMarine convention Pierre Erwes initiated the International Blue Cooperative.This international blue cooperative has already received support from governments and industry key players. Pierre Erwes also serve on several boards of international blue SMEs, including PhotoSymbiotics a new startup in the field of marine biotechnology and Marine Essence Biosciences in Shenzhen China, to represent them in Europe and Canada.
Antoine Erwes is the one of the founding members and current General Manager of the International Blue Cooperative. He has a background in Chinese and an MBA Luxury management and strategy. While working for cosmetic companies, Antoine understood the enormous potential the oceans and envisioned how the sustainable management of marine ingredients could be beneficial to both industry and local communities. As General Manager of the International Blue Cooperative, Antoine aims to develop an international network, connecting marine ingredient producers from rural and coastal areas with international industry partners and investors. This will allow industry to have access to a large supply of qualitative and sustainable raw material and producers to access a global market and help their communities grow.
Dr Tracey Begg
Dr Tracey Begg is an ecologist with a background in population and evolutionary ecology and an interest in policy and guidance development, particularly for new and expanding marine sectors. For the last 10 years I have worked within Scottish Natural Heritage’s marine team, initially providing advice for offshore renewable wind, wave and tidal proposals as the sector was getting off the ground. I currently divide my time between providing SNH’s advice for wild seaweed harvesting and marine Invasive non-native species. For seaweed, this covers strategic policy development, guidance and research projects/PhDs as well as supporting seaweed harvesters, Marine Scotland, Crown Estate Scotland and SNH staff with advice to ensure seaweed harvesting is a sustainable activity. I represent SNH on the Seaweed Review steering group.
David Pratt is Head of Planning & Strategy at Marine Scotland, the Directorate of the Scottish Government responsible for the management of Scotland’s Seas. David oversees National, Regional and Sectoral planning initiatives as well as wider marine planning policy development. He is a Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, as well as a Chartered Environmentalist.
Alex Adrian is the Aquaculture Operations Manager for Crown Estate Scotland, responsible for the organisation’s finfish, shellfish, seaweed cultivation and harvesting business activities. Alex participates in various industry and government forums, both here in Scotland and more widely around the UK, and has been involved in aquaculture development across all of the UK jurisdictions. Prior to joining The Crown Estate 13 years ago, Alex worked in the Scottish salmon farming industry for 19 years, chiefly in fish health, technical, site development and representational roles.