Innovating sustainable fishing gear: Kingston company takes up the challenge!

News release

June 25, 2019

Kingston, Ontario — Each year, more than eight million metric tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans, and it is predicted that by 2050, there will be more plastic by weight in our oceans than fish. A major contributor to marine debris is lost and abandoned fishing gear, also known as ghost fishing gear. As one of the deadliest forms of plastic debris, ghost fishing gear has significantly damaging impacts on marine animals like whales and turtles, the coastal and marine environment, and global fishing stocks.

The Government of Canada is committed to working with global partners, industry and communities to find real solutions to reduce plastic pollution and ghost fishing gear in our oceans. That is why Fisheries and Oceans Canada challenged small businesses across Canada to find innovative ways to prevent plastic waste from entering our aquatic environments, to help clean up our oceans and waterways and to minimize impacts of marine debris and ghost fishing gear. Through our two plastics challenges, under the Innovative Solutions Canada program, we sought out innovative Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs to develop new technologies.

Today, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, Mark Gerretsen on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced funding for a local Kingston-based company, Plantee Bioplastics, for the development of a proof-of-concept for an innovative biodegradable fishing line.

The grant of $138,000 will help Plantee Bioplastics Inc. further the development of their biodegradable fishing line with reduced decomposition time. The material will biodegrade when underwater, leaving little to no waste and will have an increased lifetime when stored through its hydrophobic properties.

Today's announcement builds on the Government of Canada's recent announcement to ban harmful single-use plastics as early as 2021 and hold companies responsible for plastic waste.

Quotes

“Canada’s oceans, waterways and inland lakes are a vital economic and recreational resource for Canadians, and important habitats for many marine animals. Ghost gear poses a threat to the protection of these marine environments. Plantee Bioplastics’ biodegradable fishing line will reduce the risks to marine animals while allowing Canadians to continue to enjoy recreational and commercial fishing.”

Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, Mark Gerretsen

“Fishing lines and nets made from fossil-fuel derived plastics are detrimental toward marine life as they do not decompose in aquatic environments. Recycling and disposal of used fishing gear is also challenging in Canada, and strains our recycling facilities. Through the use of bioplastics, Plantee Bioplastics Inc. is developing sustainable, drop-in solutions for these issues which can be applied at the manufacturing stage. The grant from the Department of Oceans and Fisheries Canada will empower Plantee Bioplastics Inc. to reduce or eliminate the problem of ghost fishing gear and aquatic plastic pollution through our biodegradable fishing line. ”

Richard Chen, Praphulla, and Prashant Agarwal - Co-founders: Plantee Bioplastics Inc.

Quick facts

  • Each year, globally, it is estimated that 8 million metric tons of plastic waste enters the oceans. This is like dumping the content of one garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute.

  • Every year, 640,000 tons of abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear (known as ghost fishing gear) enters our oceans. Ghost gear can persist in the environment for up to 600 years.

  • According to World Animal Protection, 92% of encounters between marine animals and debris can cause lethal problems, including ingestion and entanglement and debris.

  • In support of the Government of Canada’s Greening Government Strategy, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard became the first federal department to reduce the purchase and use of single-use plastics by implementing the Policy to Restrict the Procurement and Use of Single-Use Plastic.

  • As part of our G7 Presidency last year, Canada led in the development of the Oceans Plastics Charter, an international effort to reduce plastics in our oceans.

  • The Government of Canada has recently announced that it is working with industry to prevent and retrieve ghost fishing gear, and is investing in new Canadian technologies to reduce plastic waste and turn waste into valuable resources supporting a circular economy.

Associated links

Contacts

Jocelyn Lubczuk
Press Secretary  
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans
and the Canadian Coast Guard
343-548-7863
Jocelyn.lubczuk@dfo-mpo.gc.ca


Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
613-990-7537
Media.xncr@dfo-mpo.gc.ca


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