A multi-user marine testing platform, dubbed Stella Maris, is taking shape at the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship in Dartmouth.

The platform will help oceantech firms develop, test and commercialize marine sensor technologies.

“With the Stella Maris, COVE companies are developing advanced, high-value technologies that will reach global markets,” said Melanie Nadeau, Chief Executive Officer of COVE, in a statement.

“This platform also allows the next generation and the public to visibly see the opportunities that lie within Canada’s growing blue economy.”

The blue economy – driven by sustainable ocean resources – contributes about $32 billion to the value of Canada’s goods and services per year, the statement said. It employs about 300,000 Canadians in various sectors and provides many spin-off benefits.

The platform is being supported by a $1 million grant from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, which is contributing the money through the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program.

The province of Nova Scotia will contribute $325,000, including $60,000 from Nova Scotia Business Inc. for website development and marketing, and $15,000 from Innovacorp to support ocean technology startups.

The remaining $250,000 is from previously announced COVE stimulus funding to recapitalize the south marine terminal and small boat facility, led by Develop Nova Scotia.

Construction on the platform will begin Feb. 15 and take about three months.