Follow that lobster! Sedna Technologies’ tracking system ensures quality across the seafood supply chain.
Today, more Asian and European diners than ever are sitting down to Canadian lobster. But just how good is the quality of that crustacean after a journey halfway around the world? Just ask Sedna Technologies.
Their high-tech traceability system tells buyers at every stage of the supply chain where the lobster was caught, when and by whom, thanks to RFID tags and scannable QR codes. It tracks how long the lobster has spent in transit and even records the temperature, ammonia levels and pH of the water in the lobster tanks.
“What our system does provide is the assurance buyers are receiving a quality product,” explains Sheamus MacDonald, CEO of the Halifax startup.
Harvesters benefit too. Sedna’s mobile app offers more convenience than pen-and-paper logbooks, automatically submitting all required information to the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Even better, it helps conscientious harvesters prove they’re providing a high-quality product that merits a premium price.
Sedna’s unique combination of traceability and real-time condition monitoring has attracted significant interest, even before the system hits the market early this summer. “There’s a massive need for it,” says Sedna’s CTO Aleksandr Stabenow. “Our biggest hurdle right now is just getting the product out fast enough.”
When the two co-founders launched the startup in 2017, Stabenow brought the technical knowhow, while MacDonald had more than a decade of fisheries expertise. However, they recognized that Bioenterprise could bring important insights to their fledgling enterprise. The agri-tech accelerator’s Halifax experts provided business guidance, valuable funding suggestions and an address book full of connections across the region and around the globe.
“Bioenterprise is very good at identifying some of the challenges that you may face,” says MacDonald. For example, Bioenterprise advisors flagged the need to patent their technology early on, before the pair invested too much time and money. They then connected Sedna with Norton Rose Fulbright — a global law firm with significant expertise in intellectual property — and Bioenterprise even covered a portion of the costs.
Nor did the valuable introductions end there. Bioenterprise also put MacDonald and Stabenow in touch with COVE, the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship. On June 6th, Sedna received a $25,000 grant plus free office space from this brand-new innovation centre — a place where high-potential marine technology companies can grow, prosper and take advantage of all kinds of synergy. “It’s going to be awesome,” Stabenow says.
Today, with all their business fundamentals nailed down, the Sedna co-founders foresee a bright future. Within two years, Stabenow predicts they will have most of Canada’s main lobster exporters on board and start attracting international clients as well. In the longer term, he notes the Sedna system could be expanded to other types of seafood. As for those diners overseas? They can dig in to their top-quality Canadian lobster with confidence.