There’s no doubt having the Great Barrier Reef right on your back doorstep would be pretty inspiring

And for the team at Pacific Bio, based at Ayr in far north Queensland, preserving the Reef and any waterway or land, is a key part of its vision. The company is forging an international reputation in sustainable aquaculture, finding innovative ways to turn nitrogen-rich waste-water from prawn farming, into nutrient-rich livestock and soil products.

Pacific Bio’s driving force in its bio-remediation vision is a partnership with Professor Rocky de Nys, a key aquaculture researcher and expert based at James Cook University’s School of Marine and Tropical Biology in Townsville. In a nutshell, Rocky simply adores algae, and its chameleon properties.

It’s now a commercial process where we’ve taken waste, we capture it, we recycle it and we re-use it
— Professor Rocky de Nys, Chief Technical Officer, Pacific Bio

The Entrepreneurs’ Programme has been instrumental in the professional pairing of Pacific Bio and Professor de Nys. In 2017, program facilitator Mario Martini worked with Pacific Bio to achieve an $80,000 grant for research into macro-algae production to target pollutants.

‘My role is to match make industry and researchers. JCU is central to all of this. JCU has a wonderful range of capability in their research and academics.” said Mario.

Pacific Bio says the Entrepreneurs’ Programme has enabled the company to demonstrate it can work well with other partners, and develop technology for waste solutions in other sectors.

Professor de Nys says the focus is on being innovative and open to trying new things, and Mario has been there every step of the way.

“The strength of the programme is in the adaptability, the flexibility and the capacity to add on. And having someone who loves science to bounce ideas off.”

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