Nine enterprises in the southwestern Nova Scotia fish and seafood sector are receiving about $573,000 in funding from the Atlantic Fisheries Fund and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Business Development Program for a variety of innovative projects.
The funding was announced in Lunenburg on Oct. 22 by federal Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, provincial Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell and South Shore-St. Margaret’s MP Bernadette Jordan.
“Our government is working with our partners to make Canada’s fish and seafood sector more innovative, productive and sustainable,” said Wilkinson in a press release. “We are boosting the local economy and increasing employment opportunities in small coastal and Indigenous communities, while also ensuring the health of our fisheries for future generations.”
The projects include a pilot study being conducted by the Coldwater Lobster Association in partnership with an oceans technology company on the effectiveness and practicality of ropeless fishing gear technology for the commercial lobster industry within lobster Fishing Area 34 (LFA 34). The study will include testing and evaluate ropeless fishing gear, acoustic receivers and related technology. This technology could help reduce some risks to the endangered north Atlantic right whale population, as well as for other marine mammals.
Yarmouth-based IMO Foods Limited will be upgrading its seafood canning operations by installing a new processing system to improve productivity that will help reduce energy consumption and lower emissions, with help from the Atlantic Fisheries Fund and a repayable ACOA contribution. The new technology will help meet evolving food safety requirements and help the company expand to international markets.
Yarmouth County Eel Lake Oyster Limited is receiving funding to adopt new oyster grading technology that can be used on a barge while still on the water, allowing it to streamline its aquaculture operations and improve the quality of its product. Beyond this, its operations will become more sustainable through the use of solar energy to power this new technology.
Lastly, six tuna fishing enterprises will purchase and install new “greenstick” trolling equipment on their vessels, allowing them to adopt more efficient tuna fishing practises. The greenstick technology allows harvesters to reduce unwanted by-catch, maximize productivity of fishing practises and ensure higher quality of the product.
Along with a $195,000 repayable contribution (for IMO Foods Limited, specifically) through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Business Development Program, the $573,000 contribution derives from more than $400 million in Atlantic Fisheries Fund support, jointly funded by the federal and provincial governments.
“We know the importance of our fisheries sector and what it means to our economy,” said Colwell. “Together with our partners, we’re continuing to grow our exports, and supporting innovation to ensure our fisheries remains strong, prosperous and sustainable for generations. That’s why the province of Nova Scotia is proud to be a part of this important program, committing $38 million over the seven-year lifespan of the project. ”
The Atlantic Fisheries Fund was announced in 2017 with a focus on increasing opportunities and market value for sustainably sourced, high-quality fish and seafood products from Atlantic Canada.
“We recognize the importance of Canada’s seafood industry, particularly in Atlantic Canada, that’s why we will provide up to 70 per cent of funding to businesses in our seafood sector to meet growing demands,” said Jordan. “We know in Nova Scotia we have a high quality, sustainably sourced and a high demand product and we will help ensure businesses are able to get their products to market.”