Nova Scotia

$44M announced for Nova Scotia seafood business upgrades

More than $44 million from a federal-provincial fisheries fund will go to 11 projects across Nova Scotia, from land-based salmon farms to instruments that continuously measure oxygen levels in holding tanks.

Money from federal-provincial fisheries fund largely going to equipment improvements

Some of the money announced Thursday from the Atlantic Fisheries Fund will go to installing live wells on lobster boats. (Robert F. Bukaty/The Associated Press)

Nova Scotia seafood businesses and fishermen are getting more than $44 million to upgrade their operations, the federal and provincial governments announced Thursday.

Eleven projects are receiving money from the Atlantic Fisheries Fund, a pot of cash shared 70/30 between Ottawa and the region's provincial governments.

The projects mostly involve some form of equipment improvement — from installing live wells in lobster boats to equipment going into a new groundfish plant.

Thursday's announcement is new, but in some cases projects were approved and funds advanced months ago.

That is the case with the largest project: $14 million to the Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance. The shore plants it represents started getting money last June for technological upgrades, such as continuous monitors to measure oxygen levels and temperatures in holding tanks.

"It's already been a game changer. And I think by the time we're finished, it will be an outstanding success," Seafood Alliance executive director Leo Muise said at a virtual announcement.

He said $8 million has been advanced so far. The group has to distribute the money by September 2023.

'Reimagining the fish and seafood sector'

The $3 million in funding to the Coldwater Lobster Association for retrofits on lobster boats goes back even further to 2019. The program, which covers some of the cost of onboard holding tanks and aeration equipment, has been underway for 15 months but was not announced until Thursday.

Scotia Harvest Inc. is getting $3.75 million towards the cost of a new $8-million groundfish plant it is building in Digby, N.S. The money started flowing last fall.

"The AFF is reinvigorating and reimagining the fish and seafood sector in Canada," said federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan.

"In particular, the fund is encouraging modern and innovative ways to harvest, process and deliver high quality, sustainably sourced fish and seafood from the region's commercial fishery and aquaculture sectors."

The money is being spent across the province. Nova Scotia Fisheries Minister Keith Colwell said it is being well spent.

"And with the extra money that's being invested by the companies themselves, the investment will be well over the $44 million we're talking about today, probably double or triple that number, and that is important to Nova Scotia," Colwell said.

The recipients of the money are:

  • Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia: $4,466,089 to maximize the productivity of shellfish sites.
  • Brazil Rock 33/34 Lobster Association: $6,166,547 to create functioning live wells on lobster vessels for improving quality.
  • Canso Seafoods: $1,262,400 to provide innovative equipment for new product lines.
  • Cape d'Or Sustainable Seafoods: $3 million to help expand capacity of land-based certified organic salmon farm.
  • Coldwater Lobster Association: $3,081,830 for lobster quality enhancement projects, as well as holding and aeration.
  • Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance: $14,453,234 to support equipment and innovation activities for members.
  • Perennia Food and Agriculture: $1,795,650 to support COVID-19 response in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
  • Perennia Food and Agriculture: $1,178,550 to help expand export markets for premium quality seafood.
  • Scotia Harvest Inc.: $3,750,000 for to help provide a new processing facility for groundfish.
  • Sustainable Fish Farming (Canada) Ltd.: $4 million to help expand capacity.
  • Victoria Co-Op Fisheries: $1,562,244 to help provide modernization of processing facilities and equipment to achieve British Retail Consortium certification.