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N.S. Startup Developing Ropeless Traps That Could Save Right Whales

Image: Aaron Stevenson, the CEO of Ashored.

HALIFAX – One hallmark of Canada’s East Coast is the bright, fluorescent buoys that fisherman release across our region’s oceans, freckling the Atlantic shorelines. But the ropes that link the buoys to the lobster and crab traps below are deadly hazards for marine life, especially for the endangered right whale.

Ashored Innovations, a young Halifax-based startup, aims to eliminate the risk of whale entanglement by designing a ropeless buoy system for smarter, sustainable fishing practices.

“We’re doing a bottom bound, ropeless fishing solution,” said CEO Aaron Stevenson, who co-founded the company with Maxwell Poole and Ross Arsenault.

“Instead of having the buoy floating at the top of the water, we’re going to be taking the rope and the buoy and holding that down next to the trap. When the boat is nearby, it’ll send a signal to it which will activate the release and allow the buoy to rise to the surface.”

Stevenson and Arsenault are currently enrolled in St. Mary’s University’s MTEI program. Ashored is their applied project.

The students are still building the prototype, which Stevenson hopes will include geo-tracking and data collecting technology, so fishers can locate lost or stolen traps.

“It would help the fisher improve their process by automating their records and also provide some historical context of past catches to help with trap placement to increase gain,” said Stevenson.

Ashored is one of six companies accepted into the first Startup Yard cohort at the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship. The company was given $25,000 in non-dilutive funding to expand on the tech.

Read more about this story in Entrevestor.