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Ashored Innovations is developing a bottom-bound ropeless fishing system to minimize the risk of whale entanglements and trap loss/damage, while allowing fishers to fish in zones closed to fixed fishing gear. Ashored retrofits existing lobster and crab traps with underwater buoys that can be triggered to the surface using an active-retrieval release – this permits the buoy and connecting rope to rise to the surface where fishermen can use existing onboard equipment and processes to retrieve the trap and prepare it for redeployment. Ashored’s buoys use machine learning to collect data and make recommendations, and use sonar and geo-tracking to locate lost traps.


Lobster and crab fishing ropes run from the ocean surface to ocean floor and are causing whales to become tangled. According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, rescuing whales is “high-risk” work that the Canadian government refuses to do. Ashored’s solution is an intelligent buoy system. Ashored is developing an underwater buoy that floats next to the traps themselves. By preventing fishing lines from running from the ocean floor to surface, whales and shipping vessels will be able to pass through fishing waters without disturbing or destroying marine habitats.


Lobster and crab traps are frequently lost in storms. At several hundred dollars per trap, these losses can be devastating for fishermen who are also losing revenue from the lost trap (and accompanying DFO tags). Ashored is building an emergency buoy retrieval system to reduce this trap loss. Along with active and passive retrieval releases, Ashored buoys will be equip with a geo-tracker and underwater signature to call buoys to the surface immediately or after a set amount of time.


The current process for baiting, setting, and tracking lobster and crab traps is inefficient and costly. Traps are often empty when checked, and catch data is tracked in paper journals that are rarely referenced again. In addition to its active/passive release, Ashored’s intelligent buoy is being designed to use machine learning to track key variables such as location, date, weather, tides, and water temperature. By using this historical catch data, Ashored will be able to provide lobster and crab fishermen with recommendations on the most effective and efficient conditions and locations to drop their traps, thus increasing their yields and income.