Seeking a viable and economically feasible solution to remove plastic ghost fishing gear and other marine litter from aquatic environments through a technological innovation that can be deployed on existing vessels and infrastructure.
Sponsoring Department: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
Funding Mechanism: Grant
Opening date: October 18, 2018
Closing date: December 13, 2018, 14:00 Eastern Standard Time
Ghost fishing gear and other marine debris can cause entrapment and entanglement of wildlife. Plastic litter in oceans and waterways can be ingested by wildlife and destroy aquatic habitat. Plastic litter and specifically ghost fishing gear also present a challenge for safe navigation. The fishing, aquaculture and seafood industries are also negatively impacted through decreased yields and need to increase fishing efforts. Tourism and sport fishing may also be affected.
Canada lacks a national strategy for removing ghost fishing gear (e.g. nets, fish bins, traps) and other marine litter (e.g. buoys, bags, etc.). Current methods for removing ghost fishing gear and marine debris from the aquatic environment can be labor intensive and expensive.
This challenge is seeking solutions for removing marine debris and ghost fishing gear which can:
- Be implemented opportunistically on existing marine vessels, to work during their everyday operations; and/or
- Be deployed for targeted operations (i.e. vessels equipped with the technology can be deployed to areas that have particular marine debris concerns).
Desired outcomes and considerations
The successful innovative technology must:
- be able to be implemented on existing infrastructure (i.e. vessels and/or harbours) without having a large impact on regular operations;
- have the potential to remove significant amounts of marine litter and ghost fishing gear from Canada's oceans and waterways if deployed at large-scale;
- not significantly decrease fuel efficiency, maintenance fees or other operating costs of vessels it is deployed on; and,
- not entangle wildlife or otherwise endanger aquatic ecosystems, and it must not present safety concerns for operators or bystanders.
The innovation could be suitable for deployment on various types of vessels, including but not limited to: vessels for commercial fishing, sport fishing, tourism, shipping and/or Coast Guard operations.
Background and context
This challenge relates to the G7 Oceans Plastics Charter as well as the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals that include #14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources, with a target to reduce marine debris by 2025.
The challenge would advance DFO's mandate objectives:
- Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems
- Economically Prosperous Maritime Sectors & Fisheries
- Safe & Secure Waters
This also supports the International Maritimes Organization – Marine Environmental Protection Committee's action plan on plastics (led by Transport Canada (TC)).
Departments that would benefit from the solution include DFO-CCG (Canadian Coast Guard), Transport Canada (Navigation Safety implications) and Environment & Climate Change Canada (waste management, chemicals management and wildlife implications). The Fishing Industry and any vessels that frequent Small Craft Harbours would also benefit.
Plastic marine debris collection and recycling programs have been put in place in other countries as well as some smaller initiatives within Canada.
- The "Fishing for Litter" program in the Netherlands has been very successful in removing litter from the sea. Fishing vessels are provided with durable reusable bags to bring ashore litter which is gathered in their nets during fishing activities. Participating harbours have dedicated skips or bins installed for disposal.
- A successful net recycling program was also put in place in Steveston Harbour by the Harbour Authority, however, recycling involves long-distance shipping of recovered materials to Europe. The transportation costs are likely prohibitive of expanding this model to other Small Craft Harbours.
- A short-lived marine litter collection and recycling program was also introduced in Great Lakes harbours.
Commercial/Market Potential of Solutions
- Removal of plastic debris and ghost fishing gear from aquatic environments would have positive economic, environmental and transport safety benefits.
Maximum value and travel
Maximum grant value
Multiple grants could result from this Challenge.
Funding of up to $150,000.00 CAD for up to 6 months could be available for any Phase 1 grant resulting from this Challenge.
Funding of up to $1,000,000.00 CAD for up to 2 years could be available for any Phase 2 grant resulting from this Challenge. Only eligible businesses that received Phase 1 funding could be considered for Phase 2.
This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to award any grant for the total maximum funding value.
No travel is anticipated
Progress Review Meeting
Final Review Meeting
Solution proposals can only be submitted by a small business that meets all of the following criteria:
- for profit
- incorporated in Canada (federally or provincially)
- 499 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employeesFootnote *
- research and development activities that take place in Canada
- 50% or more of its annual wages, salaries and fees are currently paid to employees and contractors who spend the majority of their time working in CanadaFootnote *
- 50% or more of its FTE employees have Canada as their ordinary place of workFootnote *
- 50% or more of its senior executives (Vice President and above) have Canada as their principal residenceFootnote *
Part 1: Mandatory and Minimum Pass Mark Criteria
Proposals must meet all mandatory criteria (Questions 1a and 2) and achieve the minimum pass mark for Question 3 in order to be deemed responsive and proceed to Part 2.
1 a. Scope
Describe your proposed solution and how it responds to the challenge. Include in your description the scientific and technological basis upon which your solution is proposed and clearly identify how your solution meets all of the EssentialOutcomes (if identified) in the Desired Outcomes and Considerations section in the Challenge Notice.
Mandatory - Pass/Fail
2. Current Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
Mandatory - Pass/Fail
Pass: The Applicant/Bidder has demonstrated that the proposed solution is currently between TRLs 1 and 4 (inclusive), and provided justification by explaining the research and development (R&D) that has taken place to bring the solution to the stated TRL.
Fail: The Applicant/Bidder has not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the current TRL is between 1 to 4 (inclusive) including:
Describe the novelty of your solution and how it advances the state-of-the-art over existing technologies, including competing solutions.
Point Rated with Minimum Pass Mark
The minimum pass mark for this criteria is 4 points.
0 points/Fail: The Applicant/Bidder has not demonstrated that the proposed solution advances the state-of-the-art over existing technologies, including available competing solutions; OR
The stated advancements are described in general terms but are not substantiated with specific, measurable evidence.
Part 2: Point-Rated Criteria
Proposals that do not achieve the overall minimum score of at least 55 points out of a possible 110 points (50%) will be declared non-responsive and given no further consideration.
The overall minimum score is determined by adding the Applicant/Bidder's scores from the following questions together (1b, 3, 4-13).
Describe how your proposed solution addresses the Additional Outcomes (if identified) in the Desired Outcomes and Considerations section in the Challenge Notice.
If no Additional Outcomes are identified in the Challenge Notice, Bidders/Applicants will receive 10 points
4. Phase 1 Science and Technology Risks
Identify potential scientific and/or technological risks to the successful development of the proof of concept and how they will be mitigated in Phase 1?
5. Benefits to Canada
Describe the benefits that could result from the successful development of your solution. Applicants/Bidders should consider the potential benefits using the following three categories:
6. Phase 1 Project Plan
Demonstrate a feasible Phase 1 project plan by completing the table.
Note: Phase 1 cannot exceed 6 months and TRL 4.
7. Phase 1 Project Risks
Identify potential project risks (eg. Human resources, financial, project management, etc) to the successful development of the proof of concept and how they will be mitigated?
8. Phase 1 Implementation Team
Demonstrate how your project implementation team has the required management and technological skill sets and experience to deliver the project plan for Phase 1 by completing the table. A member of the implementation team can have more than one role.
Include the labour rates and level of effort for each member. A day is defined as 7.5 hours of work, exclusive of meal breaks. The labour rates and level of effort will be reviewed as part of the evaluation for Question 10.
If your business were to receive funding from Innovative Solutions Canada, describe what actions (e.g., recruitment strategy, internships, co-op placements, etc.) might be taken in Phase 1 to support the participation of under-represented groups (e.g., women, youth, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, visible minorities) in the research and development of the proposed solution.
10. Phase 1 Financial Proposal
Demonstrate a realistic financial proposal for the Phase 1 project plan by completing the table.
11. Phase 1 Financial Controls, Tracking and Oversight
Describe the financial controls, tracking and oversight that will be used to manage the public funds throughout Phase 1.
12. Phase 2 Strategy
Describe a realistic strategy for the prototype development if selected to participate in Phase 2.
Responses should include:
13. Commercialization Approach
Describe your overall commercialization approach for the proposed solution.
Responses should include:
Questions and answers
All incoming questions regarding a specific challenge will be posted here with the corresponding response.
If you have a question about a challenge, please send it to ISED-ISDE@canada.ca.
You can also consult the Frequently asked questions about the Innovative Solutions Canada Program.
A glossary is also available.
How rigid should we view the word choices in the application? For instance, how should these word choices be interpreted: the removal of marine debris vs. marine debris entering the water vs. marine equipment becoming debris/litter? All of these statements could be viewed as both the same or different. We significantly reduce the amount of gear that becomes debris, but is that the same as the removal of debris?
For the challenge "Remove and Manage Ghost Fishing Gear and Marine Debris", the goal is mitigation – to remove and manage debris and ghost fishing gear which is already in the water. For this challenge, the innovation must be a means to remove marine litter and ghost fishing gear which can be implemented on existing infrastructure.