Event details

  • July 18, 2019 12:00 am to November 1, 2019 11:30 pm
  • Doug Jones
  • 902-746-0795

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Seafood Industry Challenge

July 18, 2019 12:00 am to November 1, 2019 11:30 pm
July 18, 2019


Marilyn O'Neil



Seafood Industry Challenge

July 18, 2019 12:00 am to November 1, 2019 11:30 pm
July 18, 2019


Building Alternative Lobster Bait


Ever dreamt about building a better mousetrap?  Like to get your hands wet and talk to people working in and around the ocean every day?

Well, how about building an alternative bait for the lobster industry.  One that will be environmentally friendly by maximizing the use of bi-products from seafood processing, one that will be sustainable for the future and one that will meet the anticipated market demand for the product.

The Lobster Bait Challenge will provide you with direct access to industry people – the harvesters, the seafood processors and the food scientists.  You will work with real fish bi-product materials in a controlled environment to develop your concept. And, if your idea is shortlisted, you will also have the opportunity to do a real time trial of your product at sea.

Plus, there is a $30,000 prize for the winning product and an opportunity to collaborate with an industry partner to bring the product to market!


Ignite Labs and Perennia are pleased to launch an Innovation Challenge for the seafood industry. The challenge is to develop a lobster bait that will use bi-products from the ground fish processing industry but in a more sustainable way.

Currently, the seafood processing in Nova Scotia produces millions of pounds of bi-product per year.  Some of this bi-product is sold to the lobster industry as bait; however, it is estimated that, in order to harvest one pound of lobster, one pound of bait is needed. Increased demand for lobster bait due to decreased quotas for mackerel and herring (traditional sources of bait) offers opportunity to create an alternative bait to meet market demand. 

In addition, the bi-product from fish could potentially be used for other high value products including products for the pharmaceutical industry and functional food industry. Therefore, the challenge is to develop an alternative lobster bait that would use smaller proportions of fish bi-product combined with other agents that would produce the same amount of bait needed by the industry, and, most importantly, be as effective.


Design an alternative lobster bait that meets the following conditions:

  • It is composed of a certain percentage of fish bi-products (recommended to not be lower than 10%);
  • It is effective in attracting lobsters into the traps;
  • It can be easily used by lobster harvesters and will adapt to the bait trapping methods currently used;
  • It should be at a comparable price point to the current bait.
  • It should have a shelf life that is appropriate for industry use


The challenge is open to individuals, groups, existing companies and start-ups located in the Atlantic Provinces. Researchers in academic institutions as well as students at the post-secondary level may also participate. Not-for-profit organizations are also eligible.


The projects will be judged on the ability to meet the following criteria:

  • The concept must demonstrate the basis of why and how the alternative bait will attract lobster;
  • The alternative bait will have a be comprised of some  fish bi-products, the proportion to be determined by the applicant ;
  • The alternative bait should be comprised of inputs that can be sourced from within Nova Scotia and / or within Atlantic Canada;
  • The concept must be ready or close to being ready for trials in October of 2019


Round One – Launch and Ideation Workshop

The challenge was launched on July 18 from Ignite Labs in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. This will be followed by the Lobster Bait Challenge Ideation Workshop

Date: August 14, 2019
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Where: Ignite Labs, 208 – 210 Main Street, Yarmouth, N.S.


10:00 – 10:40 Welcome (Ignite, Perennia, Inshore Fisheries Ltd.)

  • Purpose and Goals of Challenge
  • Industry Partners
  • Outcomes
10:40 – 11:30 Industry Panel (Coldwater Lobster Association, Acadian Fish Processors, Seacrest, Bio Food Tech)

  • Current Bait Practices
  • Bait Formulation
11:30 – 12:30 Lunch and Networking
12:30 – 12:40 Western Regional Enterprise Network (WREN)
12:40 – 1:15 Next Steps (Perennia)

  • Dates, Letter of Intent, Pitch, Evaluation, Winner
1:15 – 1:30 Questions

Registration for the Ideation Workshop is now open. 

Join us to discuss considerations for lobster bait development.  A one day session will include what is required to attract lobster, how lobster biology affects bait, current practices and equipment, and guidelines for bait formulation.  

Lunch is provided.

There is no charge for the workshop and it will also be live streamed. It will also be available at a later date as a webcast.

Note that, if you attend the workshop and then decide not to proceed further with the challenge, there is no obligation.  This is an ideation session, meant to get the creative juices flowing!

To register for the workshop – in person or virtually – please click here.

Round Two – Summary Submission

Interested contestants will then be invited to submit a one-page summary statement of their proposed alternative bait.  CLICK HERE

Round Three – Product Development

A shortlist from these submissions received in Round Two will be chosen by an Advisory Panel made up of industry and researchers and then these contestants will be invited to develop their product and then to present the results at a pitch.

Round Four – Trial at Sea

Semi- finalists will be chosen from the pitch and these alterative bait products will be tested at sea. The bait that is determined to be the best at meeting the evaluation criteria outlined above will be chosen as the winner.


The winner will receive a $30,000 in non-dilutive, non-repayable award.

The Alternative Lobster Bait Challenge Award event will be held November 6 at 11:00 am at Ignite Labs located at 208 Main Street, Yarmouth Nova Scotia!

The Honorable Keith Colwell, Minister of the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, will announce the winner and award the prize. The announcement will be followed by a networking lunch and refreshments. We hope you can attend.

Please RSVP by clicking here http://ow.ly/FB1s50wU51c


July 18, 2019 Challenge launched at the Grand Opening of Ignite Labs, Yarmouth, NS
August 14, 2019 Ideation Workshop
August 21, 2019 Letters of Intent due
September Bait products developed and Pitch delivered
October Trials at sea
November Winner Announced


All submissions will be treated as confidential information and will not be disclosed to the public. Only those directly involved in managing or judging the competition will view submitted documents. Any background or foreground Intellectual Property created or used by contestants will belong to them

Questions on the challenge can be directed to Marilyn O’Neil or Doug Jones:

Marilyn O’Neil, Seafood Development Officer
Perennia Food &Agriculture Inc.

Doug Jones, Executive Director
Ignite Labs
902- 746-0795


Perennia Food and Agriculture Inc. is a provincial development agency with the mission to help farmers, fishermen and food processors be more prosperous and profitable. We are Nova Scotia’s only technical development agency focused solely on our food sector and maximizing its value.

We are a registered corporation owned by the Province of Nova Scotia and offer programs on behalf of government, undertake industry-driven development projects, and offer confidential consulting services.

The Perennia team’s number one goal is helping food-related companies grow and take advantage of new opportunities locally, nationally and internationally.


Southwestern Nova Scotia’s Innovation Hub

Ignite Labs is an arm’s length think (and do) tank, where smart entrepreneurial people work together to solve complex business problems without the corporate HQ restrictions. By providing structure, mentoring and partnerships for startup companies to operate in a lean startup environment, solve problems and prototype outside of the corporate world. Ignite Labs will encourage entrepreneurial growth in the technology sector, the oceans sector and the tourism sector in the Southwestern Region of Nova Scotia.

Along with providing an entrepreneurial environment, Ignite Labs is creating a technology culture in the region by engaging youth in solutions for challenges being faced both in the region and beyond. Through the outreach programs we are encouraging youth to explore technology entrepreneurship as a career path.

Workshop video link