LAMÈQUE (GNB) – The provincial government is investing more than $525,000 in the Island Fisherman Cooperative Association, allowing the co-operative to improve efficiency and productivity, and increase export sales, as well as helping to support jobs in the region.

“Your government understands the importance of job creation and economic growth in all regions of the province, including the north,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “The seafood industry is important to New Brunswick's economy. This investment will increase productivity and help this industry remain competitive on an international scale.”

Island Fisherman Cooperative Association Ltd., founded in 1943, is one of the largest in the Maritimes with two processing plants. One is in Lamèque and processes northern shrimp, several species of crab and herring. A second plant in Pointe-Sapin specializes in processing lobster.

The cooperative is undertaking a $5 million modernization project in which the provincial government is investing $526,000. These investments are expected to assist in maintaining 450 to 500 processing jobs at the company. Of these jobs, 322 seasonal and 26 full-time year-round positions are at the Lamèque plant while 142 seasonal and two full-time year-round positions are in Pointe-Sapin.

“With the support of the provincial government, we have reached British Retail Consortium (BRC) global standards and we have upgraded our lobster plant in Pointe-Sapin,” said Laurent Chiasson, president of the cooperative. “This gives us the opportunity to meet the needs of our members as well as of our existing and future clients, while reaching new markets.”

Global demand for high-quality seafood products continues to grow, accounting for $1.5 billion in exports in 2014. These investments will help to ensure the cooperative operates modern and efficient processing facilities and enhance its competitiveness.

In recent years, the cooperative has increased its shrimp production, obtained various certifications, modernized its fishmeal plant, and is in the midst of launching Royal Shrimp Oil, a natural product for animal and human consumption. The company was named 2016 Business of the Year by the Conseil économique du Nouveau-Brunswick.