This challenge seeks economically and technically viable innovations in fishing and aquaculture gear or gear-related technologies to reduce or eliminate ghost fishing and aquatic plastic pollution caused by Canadian fisheries and aquaculture industries.
Sponsoring Department: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
Funding Mechanism: Grant
Opening date: October 18, 2018
Closing date: December 20, 2018, 14:00 Eastern Standard Time
The fishing and aquaculture industries are significant sources of plastic marine debris - making up over 10% of marine litter (640 000 tonnes) worldwide (United Nations, 2017). Ghost fishing gear can cause entrapment and entanglement of wildlife. Ghost fishing gear also presents 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.
Most fishing and aquaculture gear (e.g. nets, buoys/floats, tags, feed bags, etc.) currently in use does not decompose in aquatic environments nor is it easily recyclable in Canada. Only certain types of fishing nets are recyclable, but only in specialized recycling facilities located overseas. Shipping to these recycling facilities is cost-prohibitive. Gear tags currently in use do not have GPS capability to enable net retrieval, and often fall off and become marine debris.
As a result, in Canada, fisheries and aquaculture facilities struggle to find solutions for recycling or disposing of their fishing nets when they are at the end of their life cycle, and do not have a means of recovering accidental lost fishing gear to properly dispose of or recycle it. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is seeking an innovation in fishing and aquaculture gear or gear-related technology is developed which reduces ghost fishing and aquatic plastic pollution.
Desired outcomes and considerations
- The solution must provide Canadian fisheries and/or aquaculture industries with an affordable, environmentally friendly solution for fishing gear at the end of its life-cycle within current Canadian recycling and composting capabilities.
- The new gear or gear-related technology must be a technically viable and economically feasible alternative to gear currently in use. It must address fishing or aquaculture gear which frequently ends up as marine debris (i.e. makes up a large proportion of debris by volume).
- The innovation in fishing or aquaculture gear or gear-related technology must eliminate or significantly reduce the quantity of plastic entering the aquatic environment from the fisheries and aquaculture industries.
Proposals must demonstrate how they meet the desired outcomes noted above. Solutions could accomplish this by:
- Being compostable within current Canadian capabilities OR being recyclable within current Canadian capabilities;
- Eliminating or significantly reducing plastic content of gear; and,
- Significantly increasing recoverability, or through other significant improvements in fisheries and aquaculture industries gear sustainability.
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 Fisheries and Oceans Canada's mandate objectives:
- Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems
- Economically Prosperous Maritime Sectors & Fisheries
- Safe & Secure Waters
This would also support the International Maritimes Organization – Marine Environmental Protection Committee's proposed action plan on plastics (led by Transport Canada (TC)).
These innovations would support the mandates of DFO-CCG (Canadian Coast Guard), Transport Canada (Navigation Safety implications) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (waste management, chemicals management and wildlife implications). The Fishing Industry, Aquaculture Industry and Consumers would also benefit.
- Wildlife can be impacted by plastic debris through entanglement, ingestion of debris (e.g. microplastics) as well as ghost fishing. Marine debris can also damage shoreline, reef and other important aquatic habitats. Reduction in marine debris and ghost fishing would be beneficial to these species.
- Ghost fishing gear has harmful impacts on fishery yields, environmental health and transport safety.
- Preventing new ghost fishing gear would have positive impacts in these areas.
- DFO/CCG currently does not have any process in place to address this issue.
- Current Canadian recycling capabilities do not allow for the recycling of the fishing nets currently in use.
- DFO/CCG has introduced additional measures to compliment the SARA Recovery Strategies and Action Plans, Marine Protected Areas and Marine Mammal Regulations for the endangered North Atlantic right whale, which include using less rope in the water, keeping better track of rope and buoys, mandatory reporting for lost gear and exploring new fishing technologies and methods.
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 “Sustainable Fishing and Aquaculture Equipment”, the goal is prevention - to prevent (or significantly reduce) fishing and aquaculture industry equipment which becomes ghost fishing gear or plastic marine debris through an innovation in fishing or aquaculture gear or gear technology. This could be achieved through a variety of means, and examples are given in the section “Additional outcomes” - through gear that is compostable or recyclable within current Canadian capabilities, which eliminates or reduces plastic content of the gear, or which increases recoverability. The solution is not limited to these examples – DFO is interested in any solution that achieves the result of preventing or reducing the quantity of plastic entering the aquatic environment from the fisheries and aquaculture industries.