Several P.E.I. shellfish growers and processing companies receive financial boost
Island shellfish farms have netted healthy government funding to improve product quality and quantity.
Eight shellfish growers and processing companies are receiving a total of $732,645 from the Atlantic Fisheries Fund.
Eligible projects must focus on innovation, infrastructure and science partnerships.
“The world is demanding sustainably sourced, high-quality seafood products and the Atlantic Fisheries Fund will drive innovation in this sector, helping Canadians meet these demands,’’ says federal Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson.
“This will boost the economy and increase employment opportunities for middle-class Canadians in small coastal and Indigenous communities.”
Jerry Bidgood, general manager of Prince Edward Aqua Farms, says the nearly $100,000 his business is receiving from the fund will be used to help purchase and install automated oyster grading equipment.
“It’s incredibly valuable to us,’’ he says.
“We struggle trying to get enough people (working for the company), so the automated side of this was very attractive to us. It’s a way for us to expand.’’
Prince Edward Aqua Farms, which is a mussel, oyster and clam grower established in the late 1980s, will cover the remaining $60,000 cost of the project.
This is the first time the company has dipped into the Atlantic Fisheries Fund, which is jointly funded by the federal and provincial governments and focuses on increasing opportunities and market value for sustainably sourced, high-quality fish and seafood products from Atlantic Canada.
“As long as the pot is available to us, we will go back for more,’’ adds Bidgood.
Funding was also received by Cascumpec Seed Oyster Inc. in Alberton ($99,900), Ward Jeffery and Thelma McNeil of Tignish ($46,020), Lennox Island First Nation Development Corporation in Bideford ($96,480), W and R Fisheries Ltd. in Georgetown ($73,136), P.E.I. Mussel Farms Inc. in Morell ($183,750), East Cape Oyster Company Ltd. in Souris ($99,900), and Future Seafoods Inc. in Fernwood ($34,000). For information on the funded projects, check the story online at www.theguardian.pe.ca.
Jerry Bidgood, general manager of Prince Edward Aqua Farms, says the $99,459 in funding his company is receiving from the Atlantic Fisheries Fund will help the business expand.