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MUN’S Canadian Centre For Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) Is Springboarding Forward, Receiving Its 2nd Patent

The Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI), was established by Memorial University as a not-for-profit cooperation for the purpose of working with industry and academia to identify opportunities and to help drive them to market. Starting in 2013 CCFI assigned the intellectual property (IP) of its sea cucumber processing technology to MUN via its Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office (TTCO). The TTCO supports the universities researchers by helping them to protect their IP, to navigate the commercialization process and to engage with industry.

Springboard Atlantic and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency provided funding for this technology and Tim Avis, director, TTCO, presented the inventors on June 2nd with their second US patent for the sea cucumber processing machine. “Without funding from Springboard and the Atlantic Canadian Opportunities Agency, this patent application would not have been possible,” says Tim Avis. “Memorial, with the help of these funders, was able to successfully respond to an industry need. This sea cucumber processing machine is the first of its kind in the world.”

The sea cucumber processing machine also has two other patents pending approval in Canada and Europe.

Sea cucumbers grow naturally in Canada and are raised in aquaculture farms in Asia, as they are a valued food source in Asia. However, the sea cucumbers can shape their soft bodies and leather-like skins to any form they wish or need to take (they are lacking a skeletal structure) and are therefore extremely difficult to process. Up until now, the processing has been very labour intensive, leading to repetitive strain injuries and sea cucumber asthma. This, in turn, has lead to difficulties for processing companies to retain their workforce.

The patented processing machine, developed by Joe Singleton and Stephen King, now allows the sea cucumbers to be easily flattened and processed quickly, reducing the repetitive strain injuries significantly. The integrated sea cucumber eviscerating machine, which takes away the toxic chemicals that some sea cucumber species discharge as a defense mechanism, reduces the occurrence of sea cucumber asthma dramatically.

To commercialize this machine, C&W Industrial Fabrication & Marine Equipment Ltd, Bay Bulls was licensed to build, market and sell them worldwide in 2013. With the perusal of the European patent, the company is hopeful that they can expand their sales territory to Europe.

For the full article click here.