Federal-provincial funding for New Brunswick lobster and oyster projects

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By Milthon Lujan

Canada.- The federal and provincial governments have announced funding for 21 lobster and oyster projects through the Atlantic Fisheries Fund.

The funding, totalling a contribution of more than $8.1 million, will help the fishing and aquaculture industry implement innovative and sustainable growing methods, introduce new automation technology, and apply the latest research. The total costs for the projects are $28 million.

Homarus Inc., a subsidiary organization of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, will receive $2 million for a marine laboratory as part of the new Homarus Centre in Shediac. The centre is a multimillion-dollar project that will raise awareness about the lobster fishery and provide education and research capabilities.

“The provincial government recognizes the importance of the lobster industry which provides more than 800 million dollars in export revenues,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Ross Wetmore. “The Eco-Centre project will educate the public on fisheries-related topics and give Homarus better tools to continue their research.”

The Regional Development Corporation received funding for the delivery of the Oyster Farm Development Program to commercial oyster producers in the province. The program helps producers adopt innovative and sustainable methods and equipment to grow oysters.

“Shellfish aquaculture is experiencing unprecedented growth in New Brunswick,” said Wetmore. “Business initiatives supported by the program meet multiple priorities identified in the New Brunswick Shellfish Aquaculture Development Strategy that reaches out to 2021. Our shellfish sector in this period is planning on 10 per cent increases annually to reach 30 million units sold in 2021.”

L’Écloserie Acadienne Ltée is establishing a new oyster hatchery in Cocagne and received support to purchase and implement new equipment and technology. The hatchery will be able to predictably provide spats for the oyster aquaculture sector.

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L’Étang du Ruisseau Bar Limitée, which specialises in the culture of the American oyster, received support to develop and produce the first Canadian strain of selectively bred Eastern Oyster.

Seventeen other businesses will also adopt innovative technology to automatically count, grade and store oysters. The systems will increase the oyster grading capacity while improving the efficiency and productivity of operator. The wet storage facilities will help provide a consistent supply of oysters to market.

“Given the economic importance of the lobster fishery and oyster aquaculture in eastern New Brunswick, it is important that these industries be supported,” said federal Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade Minister Dominic LeBlanc. “Through this funding, our lobster industry will be supported with state of the art facilities to conduct the research required to ensure its sustainability, and oyster aquaculture operators will be able to adopt the equipment and technology required to remain competitive and productive. This funding is a substantial support for our coastal communities which rely on the sea for their living.”

LeBlanc attended for federal Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard Minister Jonathan Wilkinson.

Established in 2017, the Atlantic Fisheries Fund will continue to invest in projects during its seven-year term. Applications are accepted from the commercial fisheries and aquaculture industry, Indigenous groups, universities and academia, and industry associations and organizations, including research institutions.

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