CCFI Releases Project Report – Evaluation of ROC Fishing System for the NL Lobster & Crab Fisheries

Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) Releases Project Report -  Evaluation of Rope on Command (ROC) Fishing System for the NL Lobster & Crab Fisheries

  July 12, 2023 - St. Johns, Newfoundland & Labrador   The Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) has completed the final report related to a Rope on Command (ROC) system intended to support harvesters fishing for crab, lobster and other species using fishing gear not tethered to the surface with ropes and floats while fishing. Traditional trap harvesting involves placing fishing gear, either individual traps or fleets of trawls, at or close to the bottom of the ocean to harvest various species. There is often rope extending to floatation devices on the surface to enable the gear to be located and retrieved. The vertical ropes can pose entanglement threats to a variety of marine life. In partnership with technology companies, fish harvesters, and Marine Institute, CCFI lead institutional and ocean trial testing to further develop and enhance current technology from Atlantic Canadian developers on finding an alternative approach to harvesting. The project evaluated a ropeless fishing system developed by Ashored Inc. located in Bedford, NS, in partnership with eSonar Inc. of St. John’s. Fisheries & Oceans Canada (DFO) supported CCFI to lead the project to advance technology development and adaptation in Newfoundland and Labrador. The scope of fisheries for this project includes inshore and offshore snow crab, lobster and Atlantic cod from cod pots. The evaluation includes fishing in trawls/fleets, as well as single pot. Water depths investigated included 50m to 300m.   Through the product research, testing and engagement activities for the ROC project, CCFI and its project team identified a number of key findings, conclusions and recommendations to guide the refinement and future development of ROC systems. These findings based on the potential application of the ROC system in all aspects of NL Fishery – inshore, mid-shore and offshore in deep water conditions found in the Newfoundland and Labrador’s crab fishery. All findings and recommendations guided by the input of experienced fish harvesters who have an intuitive understanding of what can work and what cannot, and equally what might be feasible from an operational and financial perspective.   Stephen Jones - Chief Business Development Officer with Ashored Inc stated:    “Working hand-in-hand with CCFI and eSonar over this 2-year project pushed the limits of rigorous testing of Ashored’s technology to the point of failure many times and that was the objective. That is the only way your product can improve and be best-in-class. The scrutiny, level of detail, and professionalism from our partners has made the Ashored rope-on-command (ROC) technology safe, reliable, and extremely effective in the harshest waters in the world. A heartfelt thank you also to all of the crab and lobster fishers that took the time to participate and test and trial the gear; we hope that this is just the start of our relationship.”   Gary J. Dinn, Chief Technology Officer & Director with eSonar Inc added:   “eSonar was pleased to support CCFI’s industry-leading expertise in this rigorous test program of the Ashored rope-on-command (ROC) solution for a sustainable lobster and crab fishery. Having been an integral part of the Ashored technology development effort, the eSonar team worked to help overcome technical challenges identified in the testing program, with the outcome of realizing a safe and effective solution for harvesters. It was a particular pleasure to see the collaboration of many crab and lobster enterprises, without which this work would not have been possible.”    Keith Hutchings, Managing Director with CCFI added:   "The Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) was pleased to lead the extensive development and review of ropeless fishing gear in NL waters supported by local crab and lobster harvesters and innovative Atlantic Canadian companies like Ashored Inc. and eSonar. The dialogue and feedback from participating harvesters when trialed aboard their vessel was essential in adopting enhancements and advising on future development required. The global seafood market today demands harvesting methods that support and protect long-term sustainability practices of all species, and this work highlights the partnerships to make it happen. "      About CCFI: The Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) is a not-for-profit Separately Incorporated Entity (SIE) of Memorial University. Since 1989, CCFI has supported industry related projects to drive innovation and technological advancements in solving industry problems related to the efficiency and profitability of those involved in the sectors. The Centre actively promotes research and development in the aquaculture, capture fishing, and fish processing sectors while utilizing both the human and facilities assets and resources of the Marine Institute, Memorial, and other academic and research institutions. CCFI works directly with industry to facilitate access to scientific and technological facilities to create projects that will immediately look to answer and/or address industry questions and work toward the adoption of new scientific data, technologies, and product developing knowledge. The Centre will collaborate with industry, funding agencies, and academic institutions to identify and secure the needed funding share arrangement for all partners.   To view Final Report, click here   —-   Media Contact:   Keith Hutchings | Managing Director, CCFI  709 631 3609 709 778 0542   Stephen Jones | Chief Business Development Officer, Ashored Innovations 902 817 5621   Gary Dinn | Chief Technology Officer and Director, eSonar 709 769 1684