Virgin Start Up Ambassador locates in Brixham


Artificial reef construction company, Arc Marine, has chosen Brixham Labs as a base to continue their ocean conservation work.

Torbay’s Elected Mayor, Gordon Oliver, said: “We welcome ARC Marine as Torbay continues to be an important centre for marine industries and research.
“The unique Environmental Laboratory in Brixham provides opportunities for marine industries to access a cutting edge research facility with access to world class university research.

“Arc Marine’s investment in Torbay supports Torbay Council’s and TDA’s ongoing economic strategy work, which continues to help increase local businesses’ engagement with Universities.”

HSE-certified commercial SCUBA divers James Doddrell and Tom Birbeck, also a Virgin Start Up Ambassador, co-founded the business with the aim of regenerating fragile and damaged marine ecosystems, starting by building the world’s first modular artificial reef and marine habitat at Vobster Quay in Somerset.

This structure will be used to protect the UK’s indigenous white-clawed freshwater crayfish population, which, due to habitat destruction and the introduction of an aggressive and invasive US breed, is facing extinction in the UK within 20-30 years.

Tom Birbeck said: “Our plan is to create substantial reef sites throughout South Devon.”

“We want to recruit from local areas and as the business grows, use local suppliers for materials wherever possible. Securing offices and a production facility in Brixham has allowed us to remain a local business.

“Our priority is to complete the substantial reef plans in Torquay by the end of 2017.

“As Virgin Ambassadors, we will be holding bi-annual meet up events for local aspiring entrepreneurs, on behalf of Virgin Start Up. We also aim to involve the local community, schools and businesses in Torbay, educating and actively involving present and future generations.”

After experimenting with various prototypes, Arc Marine has invented a number of products ranging from artificial reef modules to sea grass habitats, all of which will be constructed in Brixham.

Frank Roberts, Site Manager at Brixham Laboratory, said: “Like so many of the companies here, ARC Marine will be working collaboratively with Plymouth University to deliver their projects, which will bring so much to South Devon.

“It is with thanks to the TDA’s Investment Team that ARC Marine was connected with Brixham Laboratory to make this possible. The space is ideal for their operation and the site is ideally equipped to facilitate exciting, new businesses like ARC Marine.

“We look forward to working with them and seeing the business develop and their project goals achieved.”

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