Milestone project with Kraken Robotic Systems and partners will deliver higher resolution seafloor mapping

June 28, 2019 – Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Canada is committed to growing the economy, creating good jobs and keeping Canada competitive. That is why the Government has brought together small, medium-sized and large companies, academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations to develop major engines of innovation, growth and job creation under the ambitious Innovation Superclusters Initiative.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced that the Atlantic Canada–based Ocean Supercluster has conditionally approved its first project.

The project will be led by Kraken Robotic Systems Inc., a Mount Pearl–based marine technology company that specializes in the design, development and marketing of advanced sensors, software and underwater robotics for unmanned maritime vehicles.

Kraken intends to collaborate with a variety of industry and research partners—including Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador, Ocean Choice International, the Nunavut Fisheries Association, Clearwater Seafoods and a number of SMEs—to develop an underwater technology service hub. This hub will provide high-resolution images of the seafloor to a variety of industries, including oil and gas, fishing, hydrographic, search and salvage, and military and defence, at a lower cost compared to traditional business models.

Canadians will see tangible benefits from this project, including for the protection of marine habitats for corals and sponges.

The Innovation Superclusters Initiative is a centrepiece of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to prepare Canada for the innovative jobs of today and tomorrow. This long-term program is making investments in five major hubs across the country, which are expected to create 50,000 jobs and contribute $50 billion to Canada’s GDP over the next 10 years.


“The Ocean Supercluster is just getting started establishing Atlantic Canada as a global hub for ocean innovation. This project is an important part of the game-changing Ocean Supercluster because better knowledge of our seafloors helps us protect important habitat while extracting the full value from this rich ecosystem in a sustainable way.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“Newfoundlanders and Labradorians deeply understand the tremendous potential the ocean economy offers our province, and the country. I am glad to see the Ocean Supercluster get underway with such a fascinating first project. The knowledge that will be gained from Kraken’s work will help inform our understanding of our oceans for decades to come, and will help us unlock new growth and innovation in many different sectors of the economy that depend on them. That’s great news for St. John’s, for Newfoundland and Labrador, and for Atlantic Canada.”
– The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services

“We are excited to be announcing Canada’s Ocean Supercluster’s first technology leadership project as a significant step forward in the journey toward accelerating ocean innovation in Canada. This project brings together a rich set of partners across multiple ocean industries, including fisheries, oil and gas, and ocean technology, that will work in collaboration with each other to address shared ocean challenges. This project demonstrates the level of collaboration we aim to foster as we sustainably grow Canada’s ocean economy.”
– Kendra MacDonald, CEO, Ocean Supercluster

“Kraken is both delighted and grateful for this financial contribution from the Ocean Supercluster for our OceanVision project. This investment, along with investments from other industry and government stakeholders, allows us to expand our research capacity, develop new technologies and products, and introduce unique robotics as a service offering. This will contribute to the growth of robotics and unmanned maritime systems in the Canadian ocean ecosystem and open new, high-value international markets. We look forward to working with our consortia partners and public research institutions on this exciting project.”
– Karl Kenny, President and CEO, Kraken Robotic Systems Inc.

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada’s investment of up to $5.9 million in this first project through the Innovation Superclusters Initiative will be matched at least dollar for dollar by the private sector in cash and in-kind contributions.
  • Under an agreement signed with the Ocean Supercluster last November, the Government of Canada is investing up to nearly $153 million, matched dollar for dollar by the private sector.
  • The Ocean Supercluster is a crucial element in Canada’s goal to be a dominant player in the blue economy by harnessing emerging technologies to strengthen our ocean industries, including marine renewable energy, fisheries, aquaculture, oil and gas, defence, shipbuilding and transportation.
  • Under a recently signed Canada-European Union arrangement to facilitate trans-Atlantic cluster collaboration, Canada’s five superclusters will have opportunities to form strategic business partnerships and linkages with cluster organizations and firms in the EU.
  • The Ocean Supercluster will create more than 3,000 jobs and add more than $14 billion to Canada’s economy over 10 years.