Mara cultivates smart idea for nutritional supplements

News release

Dartmouth company to drive economic development with fast-growing, vegetarian Omega-3 algal oil

March 7, 2019 – Dartmouth, NS – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Value-added nutritional products are helping Atlantic Canadian businesses take advantage of emerging opportunities in the food and supplement industry, successfully compete in world markets, and grow the local economy. Mara Renewables Corporation (operating as Mara) is conducting research that will increase sales internationally and make the company a leading developer of sustainable, cost-effective, algae-based biotechnology.

Mara is creating a fast-growing algae for nutrition enhancement to reduce the production cost of its algal oil, a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids that are incredibly important for health and the brain. Mara’s unique, naturally sourced, vegetarian algal oil replaces fish oil, a finite resource, which will help create a cleaner, healthier, more sustainable future for Canadians and customers around the globe.

Today, Darren Fisher, Member of Parliament for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), announced Government of Canada support to help Mara maximize efficiency, cut production costs and take advantage of new market opportunities.

The Government of Canada is making smart investments that will create good, middle-class jobs in our country. It is helping Atlantic Canadians develop and bring to market new products and services that lead to market success, help grow strategic sectors, or lead to the creation of research and commercialization partnerships. Support for this project is one way the Government of Canada is working to achieve its Atlantic Growth Strategy outcome of long-term economic prosperity in the region.


Science and technology – along with stronger international trade – are rapidly changing the way Canadians live and work, bringing new challenges and more opportunities. Mara, and its world-renowned research team, are helping to place Atlantic Canada on the cutting edge of the biofood industry, creating highly skilled jobs and driving economic development.”  

     - The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

It's important that we help local, innovative companies grow, like Mara here in Dartmouth. The Government of Canada is supporting Mara and the high quality jobs it is providing, because we believe that this Atlantic Canadian company can capture a larger part of a global market worth billions of dollars. As Mara grows, it will help to attract and retain talent here in Nova Scotia.

     - Darren Fisher, Member of Parliament for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour

“From an idea and a science story that began at the beautiful Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, to researching and developing an advanced Canadian owned technology, this is a remarkable example of applying science to produce a renewable product with proven benefits to human health. This project will enable Mara to increase its commercial competitive advantage by investing in innovation delivered by a world-class, gender-balanced team of highly-skilled Canadian and multinational scientists; here in Nova Scotia, where the story began, and continues today.”  

      - Dr. Roberto Armenta, Chief Scientist and Director of Research and Development, Mara

Quick facts

  • Mara Renewables Corporation (Mara) is based in Dartmouth and has offices in the U.K.

  • Founded by Canadian entrepreneur John Risley, who started Clearwater Fine Foods, Mara is focused on the research, development, and commercialization of sustainable, cost-effective, natural algal biotechnologies for human nutrition and related industries.

  • The company’s internationally recognized research and development department has 23 highly-skilled researchers, many with doctoral-level qualifications. This new project will add three researchers to the existing Research and Development team and will also help strengthen the business development team.

  • Mara received a $3 million conditionally repayable contribution through ACOA’s Atlantic Innovation Fund.

  • The Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) encourages partnerships among private sector firms, universities, colleges and other research institutions to develop and commercialize new or improved products and services.

  • The AIF continues to build on the objectives of the Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for the middle class and those working hard to join it.


Chris Brooks
Director, Communications and Outreach
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
902-426-9417 / 902-830-3839 (cell)

Dr. Roberto Armenta
Chief Scientist and Director of Research and Development
902-403-7967 (cell) 

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