Schmidt Marine, Walton, and Builders Initiative put up big money for sustainable fisheries technology

Schmidt Marine Technology Partners practices what it calls “venture philanthropy” and funds the development of marine technologies that might otherwise fall through the cracks, including sustainable fisheries technologies.

In March of 2022, Schmidt announced an offering of up to $3.5 million in annual funding for developers of new technology aimed at sustaining the fisheries. Schmidt marine will provide up to $2 million annually with two anonymous funders providing an additional $1.5 million.

According to its March 2022 press release, Schmidt Marine hopes to fund early-stage projects and invites developers of technologies that have been used in other areas to consider whether those technologies could be adapted to serve sustainable fisheries.

The four main areas of focus are:

- Data collection primarily for stock assessment;

- Improved data analysis in order to reduce overfishing and illegal fishing, and to create premium markets;

- Gear improvements to reduce bycatch, protect habitat and increase survival rates of discards;

- Improved fishing ground and protected area monitoring to protect the sustainability investments of conscientious fishermen.

Schmidt Marine is opening the door to global innovations.

“While the initiative does not have a specific regional focus,” says the press release, “Schmidt Marine is seeking technologies that have the potential to enable improvements in multiple regions, especially areas where management and monitoring resources are most limited.”

Proposals are due by May 20, 2022, and winners will be announced in November 2022. Proposals can be submitted here:

The fisheries technology push also has funding from the Walton Family Foundation and Builders Initiative. The organizations have teamed up to offer a first round of $1 million in partially forgivable loans.

According to a Walton/Builders press release, ideal applicants for the loans should have products that are market-ready or already on the market. They should be able to use the funding to drive broader change—policy change, for example, or open the door to a new sustainable economic paradigm. Finally, applicants should be able to measure the positive social or environmental impacts of their work.

Unlike the Schmidt program, the Walton/Builders program limits its focus to the United States and Mexico. More information on the Walton/Builders loan program can be found here:

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Paul Molyneaux is the Boats & Gear editor for National Fisherman.

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