At­lantic Fish­eries Fund projects an­nounced for New­found­land and Labrador

More than $18 mil­lion spread out over 65 projects span­ning har­vest­ing, pro­cess­ing, aqua­cul­ture and sci­ence sec­tors

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - News - BY GLEN WHIF­FEN Glen.whif­[email protected]­gram.com

The fed­eral and pro­vin­cial govern­ments an­nounced in St. John’s Wed­nes­day a number of fish­eries-re­lated projects ap­proved for fund­ing in New­found­land and Labrador through the At­lantic Fish­eries Fund.

More than $18 mil­lion was dished out for projects rang­ing from fish har­vesters in­stalling au­to­mated long­line sys­tems on their ves­sels for un­der $100,000, to pro­cess­ing com­pa­nies in­stalling state-of-the-art ice man­age­ment sys­tems cost­ing in the mil­lions of dol­lars.

In to­tal on Wed­nes­day, 65 projects were an­nounced.

Jonathan Wilkin­son, min­is­ter of fish­eries, oceans and the Cana­dian Coast Guard, was in St. John’s for the an­nounce­ment. He said the fund­ing en­sures in­vest­ments in har­vest­ing and han­dling tech­nolo­gies, seafood pro­cess­ing au­to­ma­tion and mod­ern­iza­tion, and sus­tain­able aqua­cul­ture pro­duc­tion.

There was also fund­ing to sup­port fish­eries re­search to in­crease un­der­stand­ing of the im­pact of cli­mate change on the pro­duc­tiv­ity of fish­eries.

“This new fund­ing means more in­no­va­tion and jobs for com­mu­ni­ties right across New­found­land,” Wilkin­son said.

Ice­wa­ter Seafoods in Arnold’s Cove will ac­quire and in­stall a world-class ice man­age­ment sys­tem cost­ing $4,454,000.

Ice­wa­ter will con­trib­ute 25 per cent of the cost — or $1,224,350 — and the At­lantic Fish­eries Fund the re­main­der in the form of a con­di­tion­ally re­payable loan, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease.

“One of the most im­por­tant things in our busi­ness is that fish re­mains as cold as pos­si­ble from the mo­ment it is caught un­til it reaches our cus­tomers. We mon­i­tor tem­per­a­ture of the fish daily at every stage of the pro­duc­tion process,” said Al­berto Ware­ham, pres­i­dent and CEO of Ice­wa­ter Seafoods.

“Sim­i­larly, when our cus­tomers visit the plant from around the world, they come with tem­per­a­ture probes. This in­vest­ment will equip Ice­wa­ter with the lat­est tech­nol­ogy in ice man­age­ment, mean­ing more, colder and bet­ter-qual­ity ice through­out the plant year-round, while also be­ing able to freeze our prod­ucts faster and more en­ergy ef­fi­ciently.”

An­other big win­ner in the an­nounce­ment Wed­nes­day was the Fish, Food and Al­lied Work­ers (FFAW-Uni­for), which will re­ceive fund­ing of $705,550.

Ac­cord­ing to an FFAW-Uni­for news re­lease, the union is lead­ing a fish har­vester-ini­ti­ated project that will lay the ground­work for a sus­tain­able red­fish fish­ery for the fu­ture of coastal com­mu­ni­ties in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

“This project is pro­vid­ing us with an un­prece­dented op­por­tu­nity to build a sus­tain­able fish­ery from the ground up that has the po­ten­tial to pro­vide sub­stan­tial eco­nomic ben­e­fits for com­mu­ni­ties in New­found­land and Labrador,” said FFAW-Uni­for pres­i­dent Keith Sul­li­van.

The re­lease notes that Ren­dell Genge, a fish har­vester from An­chor Point, came to the union in late 2016 with the idea to build the new red­fish fish­ery us­ing sus­tain­able meth­ods to re­duce by­catch and un­der­size catch.

“Red­fish species have been see­ing very good re­cruit­ment in our area, so we saw an op­por­tu­nity here to build a new fish­ery that would help our fleet as we tran­si­tion to an en­vi­ron­ment less favourable for shell­fish,” said Genge.

“We know the new fish­ery is not go­ing to be like it was in the past. We need to find a way to re­lease the small fish and min­i­mize our by­catch of other species, and this ex­per­i­men­tal fish­ery is go­ing to give us the chance to test dif­fer­ent meth­ods, so we can do things right from the start.”

The fund­ing will con­trib­ute to­ward test­ing dif­fer­ent gear types that aim to re­duce by­catch of other species as well as to re­duce the oc­cur­rence of un­der­size catch. More than $700,000 in to­tal project costs will go di­rectly to fish­ing equip­ment and char­ter costs for par­tic­i­pat­ing har­vesters. Par­tic­i­pat­ing har­vesters and the union are con­tribut­ing the re­main­der of the costs to­ward the project, for a to­tal es­ti­mated project cost of $881,938.

The fund­ing, bro­ken down into sec­tors, in­cludes more than $3.7 mil­lion for 54 projects in har­vest­ing through­out the prov­ince tar­get­ing all three cod stocks in New­found­land and Labrador that sup­port com­mer­cial and stew­ard­ship fish­eries. Projects are fo­cused on im­prov­ing qual­ity of land­ings through adop­tion of har­vest­ing and on­board han­dling tech­nolo­gies.

More than $4.6 mil­lion has been pro­vided for five projects through­out the prov­ince in the pro­cess­ing sec­tor, with projects fo­cus­ing on cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy, au­to­ma­tion and im­prov­ing qual­ity and pro­duc­tiv­ity.

More than $1.5 mil­lion will go to four projects fo­cused on im­proved tech­nol­ogy and in­creas­ing aqua­cul­ture re­search to im­prove sus­tain­abil­ity.

More than $4.3 mil­lion was pro­vided for a five-year sci­en­tific re­search project fo­cused on fill­ing key knowl­edge gaps to im­prove stock as­sess­ments, con­trib­ute to fish­eries cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, and in­form strate­gies for man­ag­ing the ef­fects of cli­mate and pro­duc­tiv­ity changes.

The fund­ing pro­vides $4.5 mil­lion for a mul­ti­year ap­plied re­search and de­vel­op­ment project fo­cused on driv­ing in­no­va­tion in the seafood sec­tor by link­ing the de­mands of in­dus­try to the ca­pac­i­ties of uni­ver­si­ties.

“The At­lantic Fish­eries Fund is cre­at­ing new op­por­tu­ni­ties for pro­vin­cial pro­duc­ers of sus­tain­ably sourced, high-qual­ity fish and seafood prod­ucts,” said Pre­mier Dwight Ball.

“This lat­est round of in­vest­ments pro­vides im­por­tant fi­nan­cial sup­port to har­vesters, pro­ces­sors, aqua­cul­ture op­er­a­tions, academia and other stake­hold­ers through­out New­found­land and Labrador, and reaf­firms the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s recog­ni­tion of the im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion the fish­ing and aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try plays in sup­port­ing and sus­tain­ing many ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties in New­found­land and Labrador.”

GLEN WHIF­FEN / THE TELE­GRAM

Jonathan Wilkin­son, fed­eral min­is­ter of Fish­eries, Oceans and the Cana­dian Coast Guard, an­nounces more than $18 mil­lion for projects through the At­lantic Fish­eries Fund Wed­nes­day in St. John’s. Seated (from left) are Rob Shea, as­so­ciate vice-pres­i­dent of the Ma­rine In­sti­tute; Gudie Hutch­ings, Long Range Moun­tains MP; Churence Rogers, Bon­av­ista-Burin-Trin­ity MP; Pre­mier Dwight Ball; and Min­is­ter of Fish­eries and Land Re­sources Gerry Byrne.

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