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Marine Science



Innovative Canadian scheme to minimise fishing gear plastic pollution. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has challenged small businesses across Canada to find innovative ways to prevent plastic waste from entering our aquatic environments, to help clean up our oceans and waterways, and to minimize impacts of ghost gear.

Through their two plastics challenges, under the Innovative Solutions Canada program, they sought out innovative Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs to develop new technologies.

This week, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Jonathan Wilkinson, announced two local Nova Scotia businesses which are among the first to receive grants from Fisheries and Oceans Canada for their innovative solutions to minimise the loss of fishing gear and upcycling or repurposing old fishing gear into useful products.

  • Ashored Innovations Ltd. is receiving a grant of $102,000 to design a low-cost acoustically activated ropeless fishing system and gear tracking system for use in the lobster and crab fisheries. The ropeless system will minimize gear loss and damage by preventing conflict with other gear, vessels and marine life, containing ropes and buoy on the seafloor until released. The gear tracking system will record the deployment and recovery locations of the gear and which pieces are connected together, resulting in a high gear recovery rate.
  • Goodwood Plastic Products Ltd. is receiving a grant of $103,000 to improve properties of plastic wood lumber products by incorporating end-of-life fishing nets and ropes, providing a solution for fishing gear at the end of its lifecycle. The grant will help the company develop a commercial-scale facility capable of recycling fishing nets and ropes into a viable value-added enhanced plastic wood lumber commercial product.

Jonathan Wilkinson, said: “In our modern world, the economy and the environment must go hand in hand. We know that lost and abandoned fishing gear harms marine life, and has damaging environmental and economic impacts for our coastal communities and industries. The innovative solutions offered by Ashored Innovations and Goodwood Plastics Products are great examples of how small business opportunities spark innovation and hopefully inspire other businesses to rise to the challenge. We are pleased to help support these small businesses and look forward to more companies developing novel solutions to commercialize innovation while contributing to environmental sustainability.”

Navdeep Bains the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, said: “Our government leverages its enormous purchasing power to ensure Canadian small businesses can grow and innovate. We’re turning to Canadians for their best ideas to solve government challenges. Whether it’s about finding ways to improve plastic wood lumber products or making fishing systems safer, we’re investing in Canadian-made solutions.”

Aaron Stevenson, Co-Founder and CEO of Ashored Inc., said: “There are significant opportunities for our coastal communities in a changing global market that places a high value on sustainably sourced seafood. To benefit from these changes, fishermen need practical tools that work when and where they do. Thanks to funding partners like Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ashored is working with fishermen in each region to first understand and then deliver on the tools they need to thrive in this new age of fishing.”

Dan Chassie, Owner of Goodwood Plastic Products, added: “This grant will help Goodwood Plastic Products to further develop our made-in-Nova Scotia solution to the worldwide problem of plastic waste by adding value to end-of-life fishing gear such as ropes and nets. Rather than being dumped in a landfill or even worse, ending up as marine debris, these plastic resources can be manufactured into durable, long lasting boards and timbers that can be used to build safe and functional harbour infrastructure, further supporting the commercial fishing industry in Atlantic Canada.”