Feds fund four SMEs’ works on ocean plastic

OTTAWA – Four Canadian small businesses will receive grants to expand their work recycling and adapting fishing and aquaculture equipment and abandoned fishing gear into useful biodegradable products.

The over $2 million in funding is part of the second phase of the domestic plastics challenges under the Innovative Solutions Canada program, which invited Canadian small businesses to develop innovative technologies to reduce plastic waste and keep valuable resources circulating in our economy.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s plastic challenges looked specifically for ‘Made in Canada‘ innovations to protect marine environments and wildlife, and to foster sustainable economic prosperity for future generations.

Ashored Innovations Inc. from Nova Scotia will receive $702,000 to design and build a low-cost, commercially viable, and acoustically activated rope-less fishing system for use in the lobster and crab fisheries. The funding will also help the company further develop a rope-less fishing system, which includes a rope re-spooler and user-friendly gear-tracking software for lobster and crab fisheries.

“Thanks to the funding, Ashored is able to keep our team working as we move to the next stage in the development of our Rope-on-Command (ROC) solution for use in the trap fisheries,” said Aaron Stevenson, co-founder and CEO of Ashored Inc.

“Ashored will be conducting R&D, developing prototypes, and testing these new technologies with fish harvesters to ensure they are up to the standards needed to work reliably in the harsh ocean conditions common to Canada’s East Coast.

Goodwood Plastic Product Ltd. from Nova Scotia will receive $475,000 to implement and increase production at its new manufacturing facility to turn end-of-life plastic fishing nets and ropes into plastic lumber products and to incorporate them into new pre-cast plastic products.

“This grant will enable us at Goodwood Plastics to invest in and scale up our manufacturing equipment to process and handle more end of life marine net and rope and provide a cost effective, scale-able solution to recycling these types of materials and give them a second life by being made into plastic lumber,” said Dan Chassie, Oowner of Goodwood Plastic Products.

“Our plastic lumber is a safe, environmentally friendly material that will outlast and outperform traditional lumber materials in wet, high trafficked areas such as wharves, docks, marinas and harbours.

Plantee Bioplastics Inc. from Ontario will receive $475,000 to develop a “smart” biodegradable plastic polymer fishing line, and to apply this technology in the creation of other types of biodegradable plastic products for commercial and recreational fishing and aquaculture. The new technology will lengthen the lifecycle of products by slowing their degradation while they are in use, then accelerating it when the products are discarded.

Ocean Legacy Technologies from British Columbia will receive $360,000 to build a small marine plastics processing facility to enhance current efforts in marine plastic recovery and recycling.

Using innovative technologies, this facility will allow select plastic materials from fishing and aquaculture sectors to be repurposed and recycled, including plastics with some organic or non-organic contamination, and some found during shoreline clean-ups. The unique program bridges partnerships between business, industry, government and non-profit sectors to take critical steps forward to create a value chain in an emerging ocean plastics industry.

“This investment will assist Ocean Legacy Technologies in developing a small processing line, which will focus on processing select derelict fishing equipment such as oyster baskets, ropes, nets and general marine debris materials,” said Chloe Dubois, co-founder and CEO, Ocean Legacy Technologies.

“Many of these materials, which were once considered waste, will now be captured and recycled into a usable ocean plastic pellet for further manufacturing.”