SHIPPAGAN (GNB) – The provincial government is investing $1 million for improvements and renovations to the New Brunswick Aquarium and Marine Centre in Shippagan.

The centre is the largest public aquarium in the Atlantic provinces and attracts more than 30,000 visitors each year.

“Your government’s multi-year economic growth plan places a strong focus on innovation and tourism to help grow New Brunswick’s economy,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “This investment supports both innovation and the province’s tourism sector. The Aquarium and Marine Centre is well-known as a tourism destination with over 30,000 visitors each year, and the research infrastructure at the centre helps support innovation in our fisheries and aquaculture sectors.”

The 2018-19 capital budget includes funding for:

  • A new generator and electrical panels to ensure a supply of backup power for the aquarium’s living collection and for fisheries and aquaculture research conducted by the Coastal Zones Research Institute.
  • A new oil line for the heating system. It will replace the existing oil line that dates back to the original construction and no longer meets current standards.
  • Inspection and clearing of the saltwater line into the aquarium.
  • Refurbishment of the wharf to ensure the safety of users.

“Strategic investments like this one help create jobs and support development of our economy by recognizing today’s priorities and the needs of tomorrow,” said Agriculture, Mines and Rural Affairs Minister Wilfred Roussel. “These improvements will help ensure the tourism and research assets at the aquarium are protected and continue to serve our province for years to come.”

Roussel spoke on behalf of Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet.

This work will not only help the centre refurbish its infrastructure, but also help develop sectors that provide jobs and economic activity in tourism, fisheries and aquaculture.

This funding is in addition to $300,000 invested to refurbish pumping equipment in 2017-18 and $18,000 provided to Les Amis de l’Aquarium Inc. in 2016 for the development of the Old Portage lighthouse at the museum.

The value of exports of fish and seafood from New Brunswick grew to $1.7 billion last year.

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure’s $688.2-million capital budget reflects the government’s priority to invest strategically in its buildings, highways and bridges. Strategic investments in infrastructure are a key component of the multi-year New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan, the government’s framework for moving the economy forward.

The New Brunswick Tourism Growth Strategy will invest $100 million in tourism over the next eight years, with a goal of growing tourism-related GDP to $2 billion by 2025. Tourism visitor spending is estimated at $1.3 billion, making it the third-largest service sector in the province.