Live Seafood Holding and Transport Systems

Research and Development

Innovative Design

Our systems are currently being used by research facilities to grow and hold live flatfish, finfish, crab, scollops, oysters, mussels, and lobster. We have partnered with Northumberland Fishermens Association, the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation, Department of Aquaculture & Fisheries, Saint Francis Xavier University, Université Sainte-Anne, and other industry stakeholders. Gaining understanding into dynamic aquaculture requirements for different species is crucial for providing fresh, safe, and sustainable seafood, and must be continually improved upon. We recognize the importance of continual research for the improvement of our current systems, as well as for the development of new innovative technologies to increase efficiency and to minimize raw material requirements and environmental impacts.

We also provide consulting advice and customized solutions for fish farmers, seafood distributors, logistics companies, supermarkets, restaurants, and higher education institutions.

Blue American Lobster (Homarus americanus) Photo By: Université Sainte-Anne

Research Projects

Juvenile Lobster Culture Unit

Université Sainte – Anne, located in Nova Scotia, Canada, in partnership with BioNovations Inc., has developed a concept for a new innovative recirculation system for culturing juvenile lobsters. This system was developed in response to a need within the lobster industry for a cost effective manner of culturing high quantities of juvenile lobsters for the purpose of stock enhancement. 

Juvenile Lobsters are believed to have a higher survival rate after their release to the wild, ultimately resulting in greater long term benefits to the fishery. Despite these benefits, however, current enhancement programs in North America do not produce juveniles due to the lack of appropriate systems designed to handle their aggressive and cannibalistic nature.

This Juvenile Culture Unit is unique in that it is designed to meet the specific behavioural, nutritional and physiological requirements of juvenile lobsters while also being user –friendly, straight forward to operate and easy to maintain.

Université Sainte-Anne Marine Research Center, Petit-de-Grat, NS
(Photo by: Université Sainte-Anne) 

Marine Research Center, Petit-de-Grat, Nova Scotia
(Photo by: Université Sainte-Anne)

Université Sainte-Anne Marine Research Center with Juvenile Culture Unit by BioNovations

Northumberland Fisheries Lobster Hatchery

BioNovations Inc. in partnership with the Northumberland Fishermen’s association, universities and other public and private sector interests developed the first recirculation Lobster Hatchery in North America. This hatchery is the first one of its type on this continent that will be used to replenish dwindling stocks of lobster. The site is the first that can be used for experimentation, data collection, teaching and ongoing research.

The Benefits of the hatchery and the “first closed-loop system” in North America are:

  • Recirculation aquaculture is the creation of an environment for a subject species without taxing, or destroying, the environment, we live in.
  • The recirculation system is very kind to the lobster larvae. They do not have to be handled or removed as required in other systems.
  • A recirculation system is not as labour intensive as other systems and much more cost effective. The initial cost is higher, and the operating costs are lower.
  • The capacity of the facility is around one million Stage IV lobster during the six month season when they can be put back into the Northumberland Strait.

Northumberland Fisheries Lobster Hatchery, NS
(Photo by: Vanessa Oldford)

Brood Tanks by BioNovations, Northumberland Fisheries Lobster Hatchery, NS

Berried Lobster Holding Tank by BioNovations, Northumberland Fisheries Lobster Hatchery, NS

Research projects completed and ongoing include:

  • Extensive testing of new Traystor® Crate flow patterns, drainage rates, and FEA structural strength analysis.

  • Prototyping and sourcing Traystor® Crate honeycomb dividers for separating lobsters and crab species.

  • In collaboration with Université Sainte-Anne, testing of Traystor® Crate with lobsters separated into individual slots to prove this is less stressful than conventional methods.

  • Testing RFID and wireless sensors on the Traystor® Crate for complete traceability from boat to plate and ensuring waterproof capabilities within saltwater environments.

  • Modification of a “Thermo King” refrigeration unit that allows for control of both air and water temperature in the transportation system.

  • Construction of final transport system prototype within a 40’ multi-modal container and testing of all equipment, communication, and control systems.

  • Development of “black box” customized programmable logic controller (PLC) to run the live seafood transport system while protecting proprietary information and data.

  • Developing a more energy efficient, self-cleaning HVAC titanium evaporator.

  • Development and testing of a more robust particle and biological filter combination capable of more filtration in a smaller space.

  • Long duration trials for various species in the live seafood transport system and laboratory scale models, as well as testing methods for successfully transporting finfish.

  • Extensive literature search of optimal water quality parameters required for long term holding and transport of over for 30 species of shellfish (crustaceans, molluscs, etc.)

  • In collaboration with Université Sainte-Anne, research and development for Stage IV and higher lobster nurseries.

  • Live holding system design for experimental deep sea red crab (Chaceon affinis) fishery and a specialized live well and Traystor Crate dividers for the fishing vessel.

  • A feasibility study for Efficiency Nova Scotia of our new Traystor® Crate Holding System with a local fishing Co-op and A.H. Roy & Associates Engineering.

  • A test system for thawing/chilling haddock, cod, and scallops for use at a US facility.

  • The first closed-loop nursery and brood tank for raising Stage IV lobsters in conjunction with the Northumberland Fisheries Lobster Hatchery program in Nova Scotia.

  • Live holding systems for Norwegian langoustines (lobster) aboard fishing vessels for a fishing association in Urk, Holland.

  • Development of live seafood display systems for supermarkets and restaurants.

  • Research on a quick growth nitrifying bacteria for cold water systems in collaboration with the Université Sainte-Anne, and testing of methods to store live bacteria.

  • In collaboration with BioEnergy Inc. and Cape Breton University, research on a new type of activated carbon from wood fibre.

  • Developed small holding system and water based work table for laboratory testing at Cape Breton University.

  • Live holding system for testing the ability of lobsters to go over submerged natural gas pipelines in collaboration with St. Francis Xavier University.

  • In collaboration with Port Hawkesbury Paper Mill, research into use of waste heat and water for shrimp and bass aquaculture.

  • In collaboration with Coastal Zones Research Institute and fishermen from Shippagan, New Brunswick, developing new method of holding and transporting live snow crab.