Innovation That Matters

The sidescan sonar | Photo source Ocean Tracking Network

New sonar technology is cleaning Canada’s coastline

Science

The team expects to collect more than 20 tonnes of lost and discarded rope off the coast of South West Novia Scotia

Spotted: A collaboration between 40 organisations is working to clean Canada’s Novia Scotian coast of discarded fishing gear. Known as Ghost Gear, the ropes and lobster pots cause long-term damage to marine life and local communities. As ocean habitats degrade, catches decrease in size and boats are at greater risk of more extensive damage.

The technology partner on the project is the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN), a global marine technology company focused on monitoring ocean life. It is using a side-scan sonar product that was developed by EdgeTech. The new sonar device allows researchers to identify much more accurately the location of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG). The sonar device is either towed behind the boat in deep water or mounted on the side of the vessel for use in shallower water.

Part of the project entails setting up rope disposal bins in 10 different harbours to encourage safer waste management practices. Local fishers are taking part in 159 days of retrieval work on the water, and the project itself is one of a number being funded by the Canadian government’s Sustainable Fisheries Solutions and Retrieval Support Contribution Program (SFSRSCP). The clean-up will run from July 2020 to March 2022.

From using fish scale-waste to make electronic wearables, to seaweed-based marine-safe bio-packaging, Springwise is spotting a range of innovations helping clean and preserve marine habitats for future generations.

Written by: Keely Khoury

Explore more: Sustainability Innovations | Computing & Tech Innovations

Email: otn@dal.ca

Website: oceantrackingnetwork.org

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