Ignite Labs and Perennia are pleased to launch an Innovation Challenge

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.

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!

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:

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

ELIGIBILITY: 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:

  1. The concept must demonstrate the basis of why and how the alternative bait will attract lobster;
  2. The alternative bait will have a be comprised of some  fish bi-products, the proportion to be determined by the applicant;
  3. The alternative bait should be comprised of inputs that can be sourced from within Nova Scotia and / or within Atlantic Canada;
  4. The concept must be ready or close to being ready for trials in the fall of 2021

How the Challenge Will Work

Round One – Launch and Ideation Workshop “NEW”

The challenge will be launched in mid-July from Ignite Labs in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. This will be followed by an Ideation Workshop to also take place at Ignite in mid-August. At the workshop, potential contestants will learn from industry and scientists about the current state of lobster bait, why it is perceived to be unsustainable for the future, and how it is used currently.  There will also be a discussion about lobster physiology, what types of bait will attract them, and how the current bait is used. He or she will also have the chance to collaborate with others, form partnerships and ask questions.

Registration for the Ideation Workshop is now open.


Date:               August 14, 2019

Time               10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Where             Ignite Labs, 208 – 210 Main Street, Yarmouth, N.S.

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!

Round Two – Summary Submission

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

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.  


Date Activity

July 18, 2019 Challenge launched at the Grand Opening of Ignite Labs, Yarmouth, NS

August – 2nd week

August –  3rd  week

Ideation Workshop

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