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Independence Marine
Market Need

Market Drivers

The primary market driver for Whale Awayä in the United States is the regulation created by Congress to protect endangered species. Effective October, 1993, regulations promulgated by the National Marine Fisheries Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce to enforce the Endangered Species Conservation Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act will "disallow any further extensions, waivers, or interim permits" issued to allow the incidental by-catch of marine mammals while fishing in U.S. waters. Currently, regulations protecting these endangered species have been circumscribed by loopholes established to provide a grace period for the U.S. fishing industry to develop fishing technologies that protect endangered species. The loopholes have now been closed, and regulations require the use of the "most advanced technology" available to alleviate mammal by-catch. However, no technologies other than Whale Awayä currently exist to solve this dilemma.

Under the law, the only alternative to using the "most advanced technology" is the complete cessation of fishing during periods when marine mammals are known to be in a particular fishing area. Ceasing fishing operations over these periods of time will create an economic disaster for fishermen. As an example, over 30% of a the catch of a typical fishery located along the East Coast of the United States is brought in during the two month period in the fall when harbor porpoises migrate. Thus, a significant portion of a fisherman's income is at risk due to regulatory pressure. Whale Awayä is the solution for fishermen to meet the regulatory requirements and continue operations.

A second market driver for Whale Awayä is that it addresses other important needs of fishermen. The use of Dr. Lien's device has been proven to reduce the number of marine mammal entanglements in fishing nets. This minimizes the amount of damage done to nets, reducing net repair and replacement costs. Also, undamaged nets can catch more fish, thus improving yields. Testing in Newfoundland found these benefits to be economically significant. Our market research with fishermen revealed that they are looking for ways to improve fishing yields, reduce operating costs, reduce equipment loss and keep the government out of their way. Whale Awayä meets the needs of our customers from both a regulatory and an economic perspective.

Market Size

There are roughly 12,500 commercial fishing vessels in the United States. The distribution of the industry by location is shown in Appendix I. Gill net fishing, the industry sector that has the largest by-catch of cetaceans (please see Figure 3 for a breakdown by net type), is the primary target market for Whale Awayä. Gill nets represent the fishing technology used on 16% of all domestic fishing vessels. Approximately 2,025 domestic vessels deploy about 9 million feet of gill nets, representing 46% of the total commercial fishing equipment in the United States. Gill nets represent a large and highly concentrated target market with a small number of players using most of the equipment (please see Figure 4). In addition, 86% of the domestic gill nets are found along the eastern seaboard (please see Figure 5).

The 9 million feet of gill net translates into roughly 30,000 nets in use domestically. Since five Whale Awayä units are required per net, the maximum market volume will be 150,000 units per year. Currently there is no competition in this sector of the market.


Independence Marine
Table of ContentsAppendices
0. Executive Summary
1. Product Description
2. Market Need
3. Marketing
4. Future Opportunities
5. Operations
6. Management
7. Financial Overview
Market Analysis
Advertising & Promotion
Buyer Behavior
Market Size & Profits
©1993 Independence Marine