Atlantic Fisheries Fund doles out $18M to expand N.L. fishery

Federal and provincial fisheries ministers announce $18 million in funding for 65 fishery and seafood projects on Wednesday.

Money will be spent on research, modern fishing gear and other equipment

Federal Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is joined by other government officials in announcing $18 million in funding at the Marine Institute in St. John's Wednesday. (Jane Adey/CBC)

It's not quite Christmas, but the seafood industry is benefiting financially from the Atlantic Fisheries Fund.

Eighteen million dollars is being spent on 65 projects in the harvesting, processing and aquaculture sectors in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"Our customers want the fish frozen faster," said Alberto Wareham, president of Icewater Seafoods in Arnold's Cove.

"The faster you cut it, the faster you want to freeze it — to lock in the texture and quality."

Icewater Seafoods CEO Alberto Wareham says a new freezing system will improve the quality of fish (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Icewater will receive $3.2 million from the fund to help pay for a state-of-the-art ice management system to do that.

Wareham said it takes just four minutes to process a fish that's ready for freezing. He says they are focusing on getting the fish colder as soon as it enters the plant.

To that end, they are buying three stainless steel ice machines and a new ice delivery system.

There's also money for a number of fish harvesters to buy automatic longline and jigger systems and other gear.

Shrimp plant operator Danny Dumaresque is receiving 100-thousand dollars to spend on a refrigerated seawater system. (Terry Roberts/CBC)

Danny Dumaresque is CEO of Labrador Gem Seafoods and operates the scallop processing plant in Ramea.

He'll take $100,000 from the fund to help pay for a refrigerated recirculating sea water system. That'll help keep scallops alive and fresh while on board the ship after they're harvested.

"One of the biggest concerns that we have is the reliability of high quality scallops, because for our niche products we need them alive and healthy so that we can provide a sashimi grade product after it's processed," Dumaresque said.

Another of the goals of the tax money is scientific research to try to improve stock assessments and increase collaboration between industry and universities.

The Atlantic Fisheries Fund will invest over $400 million in Atlantic Canada over a seven-year period. It's cost-shared 70/30 between the federal and provincial governments.

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