Resqunit Canada Inc., the North American subsidiary of Norwegian oceantech company Resqunit A/S, is setting up in Halifax as a base for its growth in Canada and the U.S.

The parent company has developed a floatation device that can be attached to lobster traps and other equipment to ensure these traps are not lost on the ocean floor. Resqunit has already sold 5,000 units of the product and will do a full retail launch in Norway this summer. 

The company issued a statement last week announcing Erik Nobbe will lead and co-own the Halifax operation. As well as a base for business development, the Halifax office will conduct research and development to help produce future versions of the product.

“Halifax is the epicenter for oceans technology companies, located literally halfway between west coast USA and Europe, and offers extremely supportive industry and governments alike,” said the statement.

Resqunit, founded in 2017, is addressing the global problem of “ghost fishing”, which is the all too common phenomenon of lobster traps, crab pots or other such gear getting lost on the ocean floor. These lost traps continue to ensnare marine life for long periods of time, needlessly killing animals and depleting stocks. When the gear eventually breaks down, it contributes to micro-plastics in seawater.

Resqunit says 3500 lost pieces of fishing gear were collected by scuba divers in the last two years off Norway alone.

The Resqunit solution is a small device that clamps on to the side of the fishing gear, say, a lobster trap. If the trap is in the water for an extended period of time, the unit activates the floatation buoy it encloses, and the trap floats to the surface where it can be collected. The fishers save money and an environmental hazard is removed from the ocean.

“Lost fishing gear (aka Ghost Gear) and Ghost Fishing is an enormous threat to marine life on the oceans floor, and by far the largest contributor to oceanic micro-plastic pollution,” said Resqunit CEO Helge Trettø Olsen in the statement. “In Norway the product is unanimously welcomed by fishers, environmental organizations and the Directorate of Fisheries, and will be in stores all over Norway in July.”

Nobbe is a 25-year veteran of ocean-related industries and for the last two years has headed Valhalla Business Consulting in Halifax.

“We are proud to have recruited Erik Nobbe as CEO of the company,” said Helge Trettø Olsen. “He will be a great addition to our team.”