How Puget Buoy addresses the challenges of the maritime industry and impacts to the ocean/marine environment?

We are currently developing the first alternative crabbing gear solution viable for mass-market implementation that will have Environmentally Compatible Socioeconomic Benefits. The data from our upcoming study will be key in the future adoption of alternative technologies and will provide the basis for increased innovation. Quicker implementation of alternative fishing gear means less whale entanglements, less marine debris, and a healthier crabbing economy. The Puget Buoy System will reduce fixed trap lines by 96% and curb lost crabbing gear by 85% across West Coast Fisheries. This long term solution will satisfy both government regulators and members of the Dungeness crabbing economy.

Environmental Benefits:

  1. 40%-88% Decrease in whale entanglements – Since 2013, NOAA has reported that fixed-line traps have been identified to be the most common source of whale entanglements. Using data published by NOAA outlining the causes of whale entanglements over a 5 year period between 2015 – 2019, we project that the mass study adoption of Puget Buoy Gear will reduce annual whale entanglements by 40%-88% on the Pacific West Coast.
  2. 85% Reduction in derelict crabbing gear marine debris– Currently, 50,000 crab pots (10% of the 500,000 pots used annually) are lost in west coast fisheries every year. A recent study by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife found that over 14,253 crab pots are lost every year in the Washington State Fishery alone, with the majority resulting from surface level factors, which our gear would minimize. Additionally, only 2,535 pots were recovered in Washington per year. We project that the mass adoption of Puget Buoy Gear will reduce new delict crabbing gear in US fisheries by 85% (12,100 crab pots in Washington State alone), complementing current recovery efforts with an emphasis on active rather than reactive solutions. In this way, Puget Buoy is a long-term market solution to a public problem, meaning a combination of current government removal efforts and Puget Buoy’s solution would result in a full eventual containment of the marine debris issue.

Economic Benefits:

  1. Reduction in lost gear replacement costs – The savings generated from the reduction in lost crabbing gear mentioned above would be significant. The lifespan of the SBRS.1 is estimated at 12 years with minimal maintenance. With a starting price of $249.99, the generated savings are projected to exceed the initial investment, making the SBRS.1 the first profitable crabbing alternative to current fixed gear methods.
  2. Increased gear efficiency & landings – The 85% decrease in lost crab pots would benefit the whole crabbing economy. Studies estimate that reducing derelict crab pots, which cause several harmful environmental and ecological effects, will lead to significant gains in gear efficiency beneficial to all crabbers. A 2016 report from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science found that removing 34,408 derelict crab pots lead to significant gains in gear efficiency and an additional 13,504 metric tons in harvest valued at $21.3 million. A 27% increase in economic growth that would not have occurred without the removals. Such results could be replicated in west coast fisheries.
  3. Increased crabbing seasons – As is the case in California, crabbers will be capable of crabbing during parts of the season that are closed to crabbers using fixed gear pots, which will result in increased revenue for crabbers using Puget Buoy Gear.
  4. Decreased Navigational Hazards – Eliminating surface level hazards like Buoys and lines would decrease maritime vessel damage. This would benefit the entire maritime economy by reducing repair costs, which are valued between$200 – $500 per occurrence, in addition to lost time during repairs.