Calling on Canadian innovators: Fisheries and Oceans Canada has a challenge for you!

News release

Oceans plastics and marine litter
Oceans plastics and marine litter

Ottawa, Ontario — It is estimated that more than eight million metric tons of plastic end up in the oceans each year. These products never actually break down, except into smaller and smaller pieces that endanger marine life, pollute ecosystems and litter our beaches. Fishing nets and other fishing gear also contain several kinds of plastic, and abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear causes catastrophic impacts on wildlife and marine environments. This “ghost gear” continues to entangle wildlife for many decades, impacting species at risk and the prosperity of our fisheries. 

That is why the Government of Canada is looking for innovative solutions and is engaging with small businesses to help clean up our oceans and waterways and minimize impacts of ghost gear. Seven plastics challenges are being launched via the Innovative Solutions Canada program, inviting Canadian small businesses to develop innovative technologies to reduce domestic plastic waste. 

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is specifically looking for Made in Canada innovations that will protect our marine environments and wildlife, and foster sustainable economic prosperity for generations to come. The following challenges are now open to Canadian businesses for submissions:

  • Sustainable Fishing and Aquaculture Gear (closes December 13, 2018)
    To prevent ghost fishing and aquatic plastic pollution caused by Canadian fisheries and aquaculture industries by creating new fishing gear and gear technologies.
  • Recycling of Fiber-Reinforced Plastic (in collaboration with Transport Canada – closes December 12, 2018)
    To recycle glass fiber-reinforced plastic in an energy-efficient way which diverts as much waste from landfills as possible.

These challenges are part of the Government of Canada’s broader efforts to improve the management of plastics and address ghost gear as a top priority. As part of its G7 Presidency this year, Canada led the development of the Oceans Plastics Charter, an international effort to reduce plastics in our oceans. The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, also recently announced at the G7 meeting on Working Together on Climate Change, Oceans and Clean Energy in Halifax that Canada is committed to strengthening its domestic and international efforts to address marine litter and has become a signatory to the Global Ghost Gear Initiative.


“The impacts of marine plastic pollution impacts all of us. It means it will also take all of us to help address it. Through the Innovative Solutions Canada program, we have a unique opportunity to partner with Canadian small businesses to prevent ghost fishing and reduce the devastating effects of plastic debris on our aquatic ecosystems. These partnerships will stimulate cutting-edge solutions that lead to healthy oceans and waterways, while fostering economic prosperity.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard 

“Plastic waste and marine litter pose a serious threat to oceans and seas that directly support the livelihoods, food security, and economic prosperity of billions of people. The Recycling of Fiber-Reinforced Plastic challenge is one of many actions the Government of Canada is taking to address the issue of marine plastic litter from shipping. I welcome solutions that improve and increase recycling options for fiberglass, prevent its waste from ending in our landfills and encourage the growth of clean industry in Canada.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport

“Small businesses form an important pillar of our economy, and they constitute the backbone of communities across the country. Through Innovative Solutions Canada, our government is transforming challenges into opportunities for small businesses—opportunities to innovate, commercialize and scale up, thereby creating good middle-class jobs for Canadians.” 

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and employ over 8 million hard-working Canadians. That’s why our government is committed to helping small businesses start up, scale up and access new markets. Innovative Solutions Canada is a fantastic program that uses government procurement to help small businesses innovate and then commercialize their innovations. I look forward to seeing the sustainable solutions to these challenges.”

The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

Associated links


Jocelyn Lubczuk
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans
and the Canadian Coast Guard
(343) 548-7863

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada 

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