Atlantic Canada’s fish and seafood sector is getting a boost with an investment of $325 million by Ottawa.
The funding, called the Atlantic Fisheries Fund, was announced Friday by Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard Minister Dominic LeBlanc.
According to a release, the fund has a focus “to drive innovation” in the sector.
In 2015, the landed value for Canada’s Atlantic commercial fisheries was $2.8 billion.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” LeBlanc told reporters, adding 58,000 people in Atlantic Canada are employed in the fishing industry.
The government will work with the Atlantic provinces to determine how the fund will work. LeBlanc said the money would be available to all Atlantic provinces to be used in the ways they need. For example, one province could use it for infrastructure.
He said the funding is “new money”and was not reallocated from other programs.
LeBlanc said the government would also engage indigenous communities and stakeholders to help shape the program.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil told those gathered for the announcement that it was exciting news for the region.
“This is a tremendous opportunity,” McNeil said. “Eighty per cent of the best seafood in the world comes from Atlantic Canada.”
McNeil said small fishery operations are another example of how the funding could be used in Nova Scotia.
According to LeBlanc, the money will be available to the provinces this year after the funding agreement has been signed.
More details will be released in the coming months, according to the release.