Canada’s Ocean Supercluster said Tuesday it will spend $750,000 on a program to help Indigenous people transition to careers in the ocean economy, topped off with another $250,000 from the Vancouver-based Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping.

The funding announcement follows-up a pilot program with 11 participants in the middles of their careers, all of whom successfully pivoted to oceans careers. The program will match Indigenous people with 12-month employment placements that complement their existing skillsets.

The Clear Seas Centre is a joint initiative between the British Columbia Institute of Technology trade school, the College of the North Atlantic in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, and West Vancouver’s Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society.

“The Ocean Supercluster recognizes that Indigenous Peoples are natural collaborators in the ocean sector because of their lived experiences in coastal environments and their historic, cultural, and spiritual connection to the waters,” said the organization in a statement.

As well as the job placement, the program will offer participants mentorship, online training courses and access to oceans-related conferences and workshops.

Anyone interested in joining the program, either as an employee or an employer, can find more information here.

The Indigenous careers announcement comes on the heels of a $1.7 million Oceans Supercluster deal with Ship Nature’s Way of Saint Andrews, NB, to develop technology for transporting marine organisms. The supercluster is chipping in $830,000.

Announced in March and dubbed the BlueVita Technology project, the agreement will see Ship Nature’s Way develop a multimodal system to allow for the transport of animals without causing them distress or damaging their commercial value as food.

In a statement at the time, the supercluster said the BlueVita system will save seafood companies lost revenue from fish that currently must be frozen before distribution, reducing its market value. 

The Huntsman Marine Science Centre at the Fundy Discovery Aquarium in Saint Andrews in hosting testing for the project.