Being out on the water as much as you can, keeping up with fashion trends might be the last thing on your mind. Looking good for the camera isn’t top priority when you’re hard at work (although we’ve seen plenty of stylin’ deckhands in Crew Shots).

While you might not be thinking about when to change your summer wardrobe over to your new autumn duds, there’s one bit of clothing news that’ll be interesting if you’re involved in the seafood world: self-repairing garments made out of squid.

The squid ring teeth are extracted from the squids by a researcher. Penn State University photo.No, this isn’t a plot point in the latest Star Trek movie. It’s real research being done at Penn State University. And they’re making a lot of progress.

Using structural proteins extracted from the tentacles of squid suction cups, researchers created a polyelectrolyte coating that gives fabric the ability to repair itself. Small tears or rips in the fabric can be fixed by soaking an article of clothing in the substance, which creates a coating that connects ripped pieces.

The product is still being developed and obviously won’t be on shelves anytime soon, but the research team believes that that the process could be scaled in the future to supply a commercial market.

The squid ring teeth polymer takes on self-healing properties when it comes in contact with water, so throwing some damaged clothes into a load of laundry would theoretically be enough to set repairs in motion with an advanced version of the substance.

While there haven’t been direct talks about its potential usage in fisheries, it could make its way onto boats in the future. Water? Check. Clothing that’s likely to be damaged? Check. Imagine being able to repair a tear in your favorite gear as soon as it happens.

 It might be a good idea to forward this to your favorite clothing distributor.

Have you listened to this article via the audio player above?

If so, send us your feedback around what we can do to improve this feature or further develop it. If not, check it out and let us know what you think via email or on social media.

Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

Join the Conversation