Bedford, N.S.-based Ashored Innovations will be the only Atlantic Canadian company among the Top 20 early-stage startups to watch at this year’s CIX Summit in Toronto.

The CIX conference, organized by non-profit innovation network and events organizer Elevate, is slated to be held in October. Ashored and the other 19 companies were chosen by a panel of 150 investors from around the world.

“It is an honour to be selected and looking forward to presenting at the upcoming CIX,” said Ashored on social media.

Ashored has developed a system that can be attached to a series of crab or lobster traps, whereby a rope remains coiled around the device until an acoustic signal orders its deployment, allowing the traps to be retrieved. The system is designed to protect whales and other marine animals from being ensnared in the ropes from conventional fishing gear.

“We’re transitioning now from a primarily R&D company to a production, commercial entity,” said chief business development officer Stephen Jones last month.

The company is considering a leasing model, rather than conventional sales, to make its gear more affordable for fishers, and has invited potential customers to contact its staff. 

If Ashored sells its rope-on-command systems outright, Jones said they will need to cost about $2,800 per unit, with some fishers needing to purchase 40 or 50, making the cost prohibitive for most operations and limiting the available market. Under a leasing model, though, fishers would buy the use of the equipment for a single fishing season, with Ashored then relocating the gear to be used elsewhere.