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Canadian government awards grants to companies reducing plastic pollution by recycling fishing and aquaculture equipment

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Over eight million metric tons of plastic end up in the world's oceans each year—including lost and abandoned fishing gear, also known as ghost gear. The billions of items of plastic waste, like ghost gear, harm marine animals like whales and turtles, the coastal and marine environment, and global fishing stocks.

Because of this, the Government of Canada is committed to finding  solutions to protect the oceans from the negative impacts of pollution from plastics. The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Bernadette Jordan, announced four Canadian small businesses will receive grants to expand their innovative work to minimize plastics pollution by recycling fishing and aquaculture equipment and by adapting and recycling 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 the 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.

The following small businesses will receive continued funding to expand their projects: 

  • 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 Ashored Innovations to further develop their rope-less fishing system, which includes a rope re-spooler and user-friendly gear-tracking software for lobster and crab fisheries. 
  • Goodwood Plastic Product Ltd. from Nova Scotia will receive $475,000 to implement and increase production at their 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. 
  • 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 increase 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.