Nova Scotia firms enriching global ocean industries with homegrown tech
Government of Canada invests nearly $1M to help local companies with big solutions commercialize, expand their markets, and promote clean growth
August 8, 2023 · Lunenburg, Nova Scotia · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
With an ocean sector estimated to grow to over $25 billion by 2030, Atlantic Canada is poised to be a key player in the industry worldwide. In Nova Scotia, a trio of companies are expanding to deliver new technologies to global markets, further establishing the region as a driving force for growth and sustainability in the ocean sector.
Today, the the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA, announced a total repayable contribution of $996,802 toward three projects that will help to further Atlantic Canada’s ocean tech innovation and growth.
The contribution includes a $536,802 investment to help Lunenburg’s ABCO Industries Inc. create and showcase a hybrid vessel and leverage new software for electric boats (EVs). The project will lay the groundwork for ABCO to develop an EV pleasure craft that produces significantly less emissions than typical smaller and recreational vessels.
A $250,000 investment supports ReelData Inc. of Halifax as it establishes a production facility where it will build a camera system to pair with its monitoring software used in aquaculture. The company’s AI uses video footage to make recommendations based on factors like how much food is in the water, and how much food should be dispensed – helping businesses reduce their waste and keep their farms healthy.
A $210,000 investment will equip Dartmouth Ocean Technologies Inc. (DOT) with tools to bring its suite of technologies to market for aquaculture, environmental biodiversity monitoring, offshore energy, naval defence, ocean surveying, and public health. The firm specializes in environmental sensors and environmental DNA (eDNA) samplers, including an alkalinity sensor that helps researchers accurately monitor carbon uptake in the world’s oceans.
Today’s announcement underlines the Government of Canada’s commitment to supporting key growth sectors like ocean technology – helping innovative companies at all stages build more competitive products, bring them to market, and build stronger, more sustainable industries.
“Atlantic Canada’s ocean sector is a key driver of the economic momentum our region is experiencing, churning out solutions for some of the world’s toughest challenges in areas ranging from aquaculture to naval defence. The Government of Canada is committed to helping companies gain traction, scale up and meet the rising global demand for the locally-grown solutions that are putting – and keeping – Atlantic Canada at the forefront of ocean innovation.”
- The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA
“These local innovators and their achievements exemplify the remarkable growth seen in Atlantic Canada’s ocean sector, and its potential for further expansion. Companies such as these are paving the way for groundbreaking and environmentally sustainable advancements in the industry that will not only support Nova Scotia’s economy, but shape the future of ocean-based resources worldwide.”
- Darren Fisher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Seniors and Member of Parliament for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour
“ABCO is a leader in commercial boat building of vessels from 15-70 ft long. This is the next step in evolution of the marine industry and we intend to be at the forefront delivering robust, recyclable aluminum hulls and hybrid and zero emission vessels.“
- Colin Ross, R&D Program Coordinator, ABCO Industries Inc.
“The assistance from ACOA to establish this facility is key to ReelData's international sales plans. Our team can now manufacture, test, and iterate on designs of underwater cameras in-house, and our ability to train AI models which will utilize this hardware has expanded with the acquisition of local compute resources. ACOA is helping ReelData accelerate time to market and take the next steps in supporting land-based fish farmers in creating sustainable protein sources.
- Matthew Zimola, CEO, ReelData Inc.
“The financial support from ACOA is tremendously helpful. We are seeing tremendous interest in the market as we bring our samplers and sensors to market. The support will allow us to be ready for more timely deliveries in the future.”
- Arnold Furlong, President and CEO, Dartmouth Ocean Technologies Inc.
ABCO’s hometown of Lunenburg has been a hub of the marine sector since the company’s incorporation in 1947 and ABCO has been a proud steward of the industry, building everything from wooden to fiberglass and aluminum commercial boats.
In the last three years, ABCO has driven innovation in the industry by partnering and subsequently developing its own Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV). ABCO is now supporting the decarbonization of the industry by producing hybrid and fully electric boats with vessel-to-grid capabilities, that allow boats to consume and feed power back into the grid, providing a revenue stream for vessel owners and incentivizing electric vessel ownership.
ReelData's first product, ReelAppetite, has achieved an 80 percent reduction in wasted feed and a 20 percent increase in biomass for aquaculture operations.
ReelData has raised over $15 million to help farmers monitor fish populations with AI.
Dartmouth Ocean Technologies (DOT)’s eDNA Sampler has been in existence for about 12 months.
Dartmouth Ocean Technologies has delivered or have orders for many units and is in discussion on a significant number of additional units. The eDNA Sampler has found a home in the international biodiversity monitoring market.
The funding announced today is provided through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program.
In March 2023, the Public Policy Forum (PPF) published the Atlantic Canada Momentum Index, an evidence-based report revealing that social and economic indicators have been trending up in the region over the last few years, confirming momentum and economic growth in Atlantic Canada.
As outlined in the 2023 Canada Growth Summit discussion on the Atlantic Canada Momentum Index, global industries are moving to decarbonize to remain competitive while satisfying demand. Atlantic Canadian companies are leveraging the region’s assets to respond with solutions that support sustainable industry growth.
Office of the Minister of Rural Economic Development
Director of Communications
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
R&D Program Coordinator
ABCO Industries Inc.
President and CEO
Dartmouth Ocean Technologies Inc.
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