Making Waves: Summer 2023 Community News Roundup


SOA Blog

Sustainable Ocean Alliance is accelerating ocean solutions around the world. Here are their stories.

Sustainable Ocean Alliance exists to propel global solutions to our ocean's greatest challenges — and to empower the leaders behind them. Amplifying these stories is at the core of what we do at SOA, inspiring others to take action for the ocean within their communities and beyond. 

Summer is in full swing at SOA, and our community has been active across seas with deep-sea mining events, beach clean-ups, project launches, and more. From new crowdfunding campaigns with AKUA to World Oceans Day events, we share the latest news and highlights spotlighting SOA’s growing network of solutions, hubs, representatives, mentors, and more.

SOA Startups

akuaAKUA announces new crowdfunding campaign on World Oceans Day

SOA Startup: AKUA (2020 3rd Cohort)

Following a sold-out, $1 million+ fundraising round in 2021, regenerative ocean farming startup AKUA launched its second round of crowdfunding on World Oceans Day through Republic to support its launch of an exciting new kid-friendly seaweed-based vegan patty into retail: SpongeBob SquarePants Kelp Patties in partnership with Nickelodeon. As of June 8, AKUA's campaign is live and investment opportunities are open through August 17, 2023, starting at $100.

whaleseeker 1Tech startup, Hohonu, raises $1.8M to better respond and adapt to flooding and climate change on a global scale

SOA Startup: Hohonu (2021 4th Cohort)

Hohonu, a tech startup, has secured $1.8 million in funding to enhance their innovative platform, enabling communities to effectively respond and adapt to the challenges posed by flooding and climate change worldwide.

loliware-1Loliware unveils seaweed resin, compostable utensils 

SOA Startup: LOLIWARE (2018 1st Cohort)

At the 2023 Rethinking Materials Innovation and Investment Summit, Loliware—a San Francisco-based seaweed materials company—announced the launch of a new seaweed-based resin for injection molding to be used for commercial utensils. This new biomaterial will comprise the company’s first seaweed utensil set and be manufactured on standard plastic injection-molding equipment. 

ecospears 2ecoSPEARS® Presents New Technology to Eliminate 'Forever Chemicals' at 2023 COPs Conference in Geneva, Switzerland 

SOA Startup: ecoSPEARS (2021 5th Cohort)

On May 11, ecoSPEARS presented its green, sustainable remediation technology at the global 2023 Conference of Parties (COP) in Geneva, Switzerland. The ecoSPEARS process to eliminate toxic contaminants onsite is becoming the leading technology for many countries moving forward, which is a paradigm shift in the ability to remediate toxic sites.


SeaForestation.Co wins four prizes at the Singapore Livability Challenge Grand Finale 2023

SOA Startup: SeaForestation.Co (2021 5th Cohort)

Marine permaculture startup SeaForestation.Co was awarded four prizes during the Singapore Livability Challenge Grand Finale 2023, worth combined a total of SG$400,000 in funding and highlighting Seaforestation.Co’s efforts in climate change mitigation. The three awards were the Popular Vote for Climate Change, PlanetRise Investment Prize, Quest Ventures Investment Prize, and Rumah Group Investment Prize.


returnity 1Returnity launches ‘The Last Box,’ reusable shipping solution to reduce cardboard waste

SOA Startup: Returnity (2021 5th Cohort)

Delivery packaging company, Returnity, has launched a reusable solution for retailers, The Last Box, which it says will replace cardboard boxes for shipping products between distribution centers and stores in 2023. The company also states its solution will lower retailers’ packaging expenses by at least 30% and without the requirement of breaking down empty boxes or spending excessive time unpacking products.

repurposeNew Innovation Alliance Calls For Pragmatic Global Plastics Treaty

SOA Startup: rePurpose Global (2019 2nd Cohort)

More than 60 leading plastic waste innovators have joined forces to form a new alliance, the Innovation Alliance for a Global Plastics Treaty (IAGPT), in preparation for the next round of negotiations for the widely anticipated UN-led Global Plastics Treaty to tackle the growing issue of global plastic pollution. 

IAGPT has been convened by SOA Startup rePurpose Global and The Ocean Cleanup to accelerate plastic action innovation and progress towards zero plastic pollution by 2040 in its call for a pragmatic and inclusive treaty. 

SOA is a Founding Member of the IAGPT in addition to a handful of other SOA startups who have signed on: Cruz Foam, Dispatch Goods, Sway, Muuse, Returnity, and Oceanworks.  

ecospears 1ecoSPEARS Wins Edison Award for Breakthrough Solution to Eliminating ‘Forever Chemicals’

SOA Startup: ecoSPEARS (2021 5th Cohort)

ecoSPEARS has been honored with the prestigious Edison Award for their groundbreaking solution in eliminating persistent organic pollutants known as "forever chemicals." The recognition highlights ecoSPEARS innovative technology and its ability to remediate toxic sites by effectively removing these harmful substances.

sinaySinay raises €5m in new funding

SOA Startup: Sinay (2019 2nd Cohort)

French maritime tech company Sinay has announced the closing of a new €5 million funding round, including investors at Shift4Good, Alpana Ventures, Sustainable Ocean Alliance’s Seabird Ventures, and Betatron. The funds will be used to accelerate the internationalization of the company and to support further growth of its products.

“Today more than ever, there is a dual need to make the maritime industries including shipping and offshore energies more efficient and competitive but at the same time preserving the ocean and the biodiversity,” said Yanis Souami, Founder & CEO of Sinay. 

hohonu-1Mobius by Whale Seeker named one of the top 10 AI solutions in IRCAI's Global Top 100 2022 Report

SOA Startup: Whale Seeker (2021 4th Cohort)

Whale Seeker, a Montreal-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) company, has been recognized as one of the top 10 AI projects in the world by the International Research Centre in Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI) under the auspices of UNESCO in the latest Global Top 100 2022 Report. This report features one hundred AI applications from around the world across multiple sectors and all five geographic regions addressing the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

navier-1Navier’s hydrofoiling electric boat cruises West Coast waterways to line up first pilot programs

SOA Startup: Navier (2019 2nd Cohort)

Maritime startup Navier is introducing its first pilot program of a fleet of hydrofoiling electric vessels for high-speed, clean-powered water transportation to launch in the San Francisco Bay — a cleaner and potentially quicker alternative to gridlocked bridges or bulky commuter ferries. Navier aims to leverage its innovative technology to provide fast, sustainable, and efficient transportation options, utilizing electric propulsion and hydrofoil design to increase speed on waterways and reduce environmental impact.

sway-2Sway launches first product with Graf Lantz

SOA Startup: Sway (2021 5th Cohort)

In celebration of Earth Day 2023, regenerative packaging startup Sway launched a partnership with LA-based home goods company Graf Lanz to release a limited-edition greeting card featuring Graf Lantz’s felt Wine Markers wrapped in Sway’s home-compostable seaweed-based alternative packaging. This product marks Sway’s first public product launch featuring their award-winning materials. 

Santa Cruz company works to replace styrofoam with enviro-friendly alternative

SOA Startup: Cruz Foam (2019 2nd Cohort)

Santa Cruz-based startup, Cruz Foam, is revolutionizing the traditional packaging industry by creating sustainable alternatives to traditionally harmful materials like styrofoam by developing products made from discarded shells from crustaceans. 

oceanium-2Winners of the 2023 Bold Woman Award by Veuve Clicquot Announced

SOA Startup: OCEANIUM (2021 5th Cohort)

Co-Founder & CEO of OCEANIUM, Karen Scofield Seal, has been selected as the winner of the Veuve Clicquot Bold Future Award 2023. This prestigious award celebrates the company’s long-standing commitment to amplifying female leadership. 

“The Veuve Clicquot Bold Future Award is an amazing recognition of the incredibly bright future we have at OCEANIUM,” said Karen. “I’m grateful that our work is being recognised with this prestigious award and that it will highlight the potential that OCEANIUM has to help shape our future.”

toolspawnSix SOA Startup Founders recognized in TOOL Spawn 100 Inspirational Female Founders 2023

SOA Startup: AKUA (2020 3rd Cohort), Aquaai (2020 3rd Cohort), Blue Ocean Gear (2019 2nd Cohort), OCEANIUM (2021 5th Cohort), Tēnaka (2021 4th Cohort), Whale Seeker (2021 4th Cohort)

During SHE Conference 2023, TOOL Spawn officially revealed the TOOL 100 Inspirational Female Founders of Ocean & Energy 2023, and the problems their companies work on resolving. This year's list included six SOA Startup founders, including SOA’s own CEO & Founder Daniela V. Fernandez. 

Female Founders in Ocean & Energy:

Courtney Boyd Myers, AKUA

Liane Thompson, Aquaai 

Kortney Opshaug, Blue Ocean Gear

Karen Scofield Seal, OCEANIUM

Anne-Sophie Roux, Tēnaka and My Coral Garden

Emily Charry Tissier, Whale Seeker

Female Social Entrepreneurs:

Daniela V. Fernandez, Sustainable Ocean Alliance



SOA Grantees

conner muir smithNCEAS Leads Ten-Year Review of California’s MPA Network

SOA Grantee: Conner Muir Smith (2022)

The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara published their findings from a decadal review of California’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), emphasizing their positive impact on ocean ecosystems and biodiversity conservation. Written by SOA Grantee, Conner Muir Smith, this review discusses the benefits of indigenous coastal management and how it can both regenerate native landscapes for climate resiliency and inform current policy.

ocean upriseOcean Uprise mobilizes 20 young ocean activists from 13 countries to advance global youth action 

SOA Grantee: Ocean Uprise (2023)

With the support of Sustainable Ocean Alliance’s Grant Program, Ocean Uprise (OU) has successfully mobilized 20 young diverse people from 13 countries to take ocean action in each of their communities through OU’s 2023 Bi-Annual Internship Program. Designed to go from "inspiration to action", this internship provided youth from all around the world the opportunity to connect, learn from ocean leaders, and implement an impact project in their local community.



SOA Hubs

SOA My Ocean HopeMeet the Malaysian students turning your trash into treasure

SOA Hub: Malaysia – MY Ocean Hope

To mitigate ocean pollution, Malaysian youth have turned to upcycling waste to reduce or eliminate plastic amid a rising urgency on the part of governments and companies in Asia to respond to ocean pollution and climate change. 

Since its inception in 2021, SOA MY Ocean Hope has been harnessing the creativity and passion of university students to launch eco-projects aimed at addressing ocean pollution while providing an avenue for the youth to promote community participation in environmental research and conserve Malaysian marine biological heritage.

SOA Caribbean 2Call to restore Graeme Hall through multi-sectoral approach

SOA Hub: Caribbean, Young Ocean Leader: Travis Gardiner

Conservationists in Barbados are calling for the ecological restoration of Graeme Hall Swamp, the largest wetland in the country. SOA Caribbean is working alongside various community groups to advocate for a multi-sectoral approach in restoring and preserving the ecological integrity of Graeme Hall, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and sustainable practices to protect this valuable ecosystem.

SOA UMDUMD community members celebrate sustainability at Earth Fest 

SOA Hub: University of Maryland

The University of Maryland (UMD) community came together for Earth Day to learn about sustainability through hands-on activities from campus organizations and students at EarthFest — an annual campus event aimed to teach students about environmental justice and sustainability. SOA UMD Chapter hosted a booth selling biodegradable confetti made out of flower petals.

SOA Caribbean 1As deep-sea mining decision still hangs in the balance, young Jamaican activists continue to campaign

SOA Hub: Caribbean; SOA Regional Representatives: Daniel Caceres Bartra & Khadija Stewart

A collaborative group of Jamaican climate activists, led by the Jamaica Climate Change Youth Council (JCCYC) alongside SOA Caribbean and Greenpeace USA, gathered in Kingston, Jamaica during the 28th Session of the International Seabed Authority meetings to raise awareness in the community over the threats of deep-sea mining. The youth organized demonstrations and activities on the waterfront directly in front of the Jamaica Conference Center where the ISA meeting was taking place. Their banners were also clearly visible from the Center for all ISA delegates to see.

SOA tanzaniaGrass Underwater Project Celebrates First World Seagrass Day

SOA Hub: Tanzania

As a commemoration of the first UN World Seagrass Day 2023, SOA Tanzania and the Grass Underwater Project organized a networking and training session for fisheries officers, community members, and youth from SOA Tanzania to raise awareness and provide training for seagrass conservation. During the training session, community members formalized a community leadership group to work on seagrass meadow conservation and were trained in the methodologies to restore and monitor seagrass meadows in their local areas. 



SOA Partners

KATOAMobile gaming for Earth Day: Sankari Studios and in partnership for climate game Katoa

SOA Partner: Sankari Studios – KATOA

Several environmental conservation organizations have partnered with Sankari Studios for the world-wide release of KATOA, a mobile game with the climate crisis as its focus. Released on Earth Day 2023, the game has four partners all of which will share in profits raised and put the money towards essential, in-progress projects helping to save the environment all around the world:, The Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA), and

OPCPRESERVE THE OCEANS: These companies are mobilizing for the sea

SOA Partner: Ocean Pitch Challenge, RespectOcean

Since 2021, RespectOcean and Sustainable Ocean Alliance have co-organized the Ocean Pitch Challenge— a competition for ocean-based startups that offer solutions for the protection of marine and coastal ecosystems. Learn more about the finalists and the impact of this event. 

Community Powered Entrepreneurship with SOA’s Camila Vega – The Indisposable Podcast®


 SOA Partner: Upstream Solutions, SOA Dream Team Member: Camila Vega

In this podcast episode hosted by Upstream Solutions, Camila Vega—Solutions Portfolio Manager at Sustainable Ocean Alliance—offers a window into SOA’s approach to ending ocean plastic pollution through funding solutions-focused startups. Camila and podcast host Brooking Gatewood discuss community-powered innovation, human-centered design, and why technology alone is insufficient to address our waste crisis. This episode is part of a series highlighting the judges for The Reusies 2023.



SOA Representatives, Youth Leaders, and More

Look Down: Why It's Crucial to Stop Deep-Sea Mining Now! 

SOA Representative for France: Anne-Sophie Roux

The Burning Case is a podcast that covers critical conversations about our future on this planet and how policy making and radical democracy are essential to ensure that future is not only green but also fair and inclusive. This episode features SOA’s Anne-Sophie Roux where she educates the audience on the potential risks and impact of deep-sea mining, the International Seabed Authority, and what is at stake.

Daniel CaceresThe worrying effects of the record level of ocean warming that scientists cannot explain

SOA Regional Representative for Hispanoamerica: Daniel Caceres Bartra

Ocean surface temperatures have reached new records the last few months in a warming process that scientists have acknowledged they do not fully understand. Daniel Caceres Bartra was quoted by BBC World News on the subject, saying, “The beginning of this year, 4% of the planet's surface registered heat records, and this March has been the second hottest on record due to the amount of emissions and the amount of heat that we have stored. 90% of this excess is absorbed by the ocean and this exacerbates the formation of storms, hurricanes, and other phenomena such as El Niño.”

"This will create a lot of climate refugees and one of the main issues under discussion is what will happen to them, what nationality will they have, will they remain one nation or will they be absorbed by another."

mark haverIRK Magazine Earth Day Edition: People for the Planet

SOA Regional Representative for North America: Mark Haver 

The fashion industry is one of the largest contributors to environmental degradation, but there are global leaders who are making a positive impact by addressing social and environmental justice through their work. 

In celebration of Earth Day 2023, IRK Magazine featured a group of fabulous champions for the planet who are making a difference in their industry. In this exciting feature, Mark Haver discusses his why, climate action, and what gives him hope for the planet—including his work with Global Fashion Exchange to host sustainable fashion swaps at LGBTQ+ venues and events in Washington, DC and New York City.

bodhi patilStem the tide of ocean pollution to save billions of lives, dollars, and our coral reefs

SOA Young Ocean Leader: Bodhi Patil

The health of coral reefs, our most biodiverse ocean ecosystem, is fundamentally interconnected with human health. SOA Young Ocean Leader, Bodhi Patil, says we need urgent global action to tackle the pollution crisis to protect both in this Economist Impact Op-Ed piece.



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