While the Federal Government is cutting 700 jobs from Environment Canada in an attempt to save money, the Feds announced this week that they will be spending millions of dollars on fisheries projects. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has decided to invest in many different projects found all over the country, two of which happened to be here on the North Coast.
One of these areas that DFO wants to invest government money is in British Columbia’s emerging aquaculture industry. The Metlakatla First Nation has been working with the Coastal Shellfish Corporation towards the opening of a commercial scallop farm in the waters off the North Coast, which they believe will provide revenue to their community and jobs for their members. This project has received $101,000 from the DFO so that they can “purchase an innovative spiral anchoring system, with the intent of decreasing scallop farming production costs”
The federal government believes that investing in projects like this one and others in BC is a smart business move for the country because Canada’s Aquaculture production has increased 400 per cent over the past 20 years, and the product is sold mostly to international markets.
“As Canada’s aquaculture industry continues to grow, it brings economic and social benefits to our country,” says the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Randy Kamp.
“Our government is ensuring that this industry has the support it needs to expand in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way.”
The other North Coast project to get funding from DFO is the Fairview Dock, not the large Fairview container terminal at the port, but rather the small-board harbour that falls under the jurisdiction of the Port Edward Port Authority. The company that owns the dock, Canada Small Craft Harbours, wants to put in place a new fire suppression system and DFO is getting an unspecified amount government money to put towards the project.
This project is one of several different small craft harbours from around Canada to receive money for things like repairs, dredging or other improvements. All in all, the federal government is planing to spend $57-million on improvements to these harbours over the next year.
“We know that this industry is a major economic driver for many communities in this country and they depend on having infrastructure in place to support our fishermen and women,” says Kamp.