FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial and federal governments are investing a total of $4.2 million to help improve productivity and sustainability in New Brunswick’s lobster, snow crab and smoked herring processing sectors.

Through the Atlantic Fisheries Fund, 26 projects that focus on innovative technologies will help local processors be more efficient and adapt to meet national and international market requirements. 

“The fish and seafood industry continues to be an important economic driver for our province,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Margaret Johnson. “We are committed to supporting innovation and infrastructure that will position New Brunswick’s processing industry as a global leader in increasingly competitive markets.”

Edmond Gagnon, a family-owned seafood processing plant in Grand Barachois, has received $2 million to support the acquisition and installation of state-of-the-art seafood processing equipment for a new processing facility. The equipment will enable greater automation, product traceability, increased productivity and market diversification by meeting the British Retail Consortium certification requirements.

Twenty other processors also share more than $2.2 million for 25 projects to acquire and install specialized equipment.

Ten of these projects are related to the lobster and snow crab processing sectors. New Brunswick accounts for more than 50 per cent of world production of frozen processed lobster, and approximately 25 per cent of Canadian production of snow crab.

In addition, 15 smoked herring processors are receiving funding for new equipment. The smokehouse sector is an important component of the seafood processing industry in New Brunswick, with 95 per cent of the world’s hard-cured smoke herring produced in the province.

“Canada’s fisheries are a vital part of our national blue economy, and the backbone of so many coastal communities,” said federal Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Minister Bernadette Jordan. “Through the Atlantic Fisheries Fund, we’re ensuring that the hardworking people of this sector have the technology and equipment they need to continue to harvest and process our world-class seafood and earn the maximum value for that product.”

Automation in the seafood processing sector is instrumental in maintaining a globally competitive industry through improved efficiency and productivity. The industry faces challenges in hiring workers, and automation with modern equipment allows for improved working conditions and leads to improved employee recruitment and retention.

The Atlantic Fisheries Fund aims to help Canada’s seafood sector transition to meet growing market demands for products that are high quality, value-added and sustainably sourced.