New Brunswick gets cash to sort out bottlenecks

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Salmon production in New Brunswick looks set to rise after Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc this week pledged CAD 6.9 million in new funding to improve the crumbling fish-landing infrastructure.

“The older structures have become dangerous for trucks and heavy equipment to transport seafood from the fish harvesters to the fish processing plants,” Mr. LeBlanc said, adding that he recognized an infrastructure bottleneck has slowed the salmon business’s growth in the Maritime Canadian province.

Salmon Business’s questions about whether more infrastructure help was on the way for other salmon-producing provinces went unanswered. In April 2017, twelve fishing harbours in Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador were allotted CAD14.6m for repair and maintenance.

New Brunswick produces about CAD 200m worth of farmed salmon yearly; this constitutes almost 100 per cent of all fish farmed in the province. The province accounts for a third of all Canadian salmon production and the bulk of landings in Maritime Canada. British Columbian salmon landings are still twice as valuable, however.

An inability to get more than one truck onto a wharf at a time has slowed shipments to market in New Brunswick, and harvesters have had to divert deliveries to buyers and distribution farther afield. The lack of sufficient landing sites near the best fish production areas has deterred would-be players, fearing the extra transport costs to better off-take centers.

Fisheries Department support for so-called “small craft harbours” runs parallel with a current review of the Canadian Fisheries Act. The money and the Act are intended to support the 42,500 Candians employed in the fish business.

The new money for southeastern New Brunswick facilities constitutes Part 1 of a two-tranche installment for a ramp, electrical services and wharf at Cap-des-Caisse: “The addition to the harbour will give the Harbour Authority a new loading zone for seafood which will be used by fish harvesters and fish buyers,” LeBlanc said.

In all, 11 New Brunswick sites are set to receive federal money for cement-covered wharves at Barre-de-Cocagne, Cap-Lumiere and Petit-Cap, and annual dredging at eight other locations. The new projects add to wharf reconstruction already underway at Botsford, Richibucto and Petit-Cap that’ll cost CAD 5.7m