The Waycobah First Nation plans to upgrade its facilities until it is capable of growing, harvesting and processing four-pound fillets on a year-round basis.

WAYCOBAH: Government is supporting the growth of Waycobah First Nation’s steelhead trout farm operation.

Rodger Cuzner, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton–Canso – on behalf of Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) – today announced a total of $545,000 in non-repayable contributions for two projects at the Waycobah First Nation to expand its trout growing operation and upgrade its processing facility.

“The Waycobah First Nation is developing a well-earned reputation for providing high-quality, sustainably harvested seafood for national and international export,” Cuzner said. “I am pleased that today’s funding announcement is supporting the expansion of this community-based initiative, an important economic contributor for this Indigenous community, further demonstrating the Government of Canada’s commitment to the aquaculture industry.”

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The funding is being made through ACOA’s Business Development Program, which supports small and medium-sized enterprises and not-for-profit organizations that provide support to Atlantic businesses.

“The Government of Canada is committed to creating sustainable growth, economic opportunity and prosperity in communities across Canada to help grow the middle class,” Bains said. “Our investment will help the Waycobah First Nation foster greater ties to national and international export markets for its processed seafood, which has been identified as a meaningful contributor to economic viability and development in the region.”

The Waycobah Band Council has an agreement with Northern Harvest Sea Farms to purchase and market the farm’s product.

The Province of Nova Scotia is contributing $140,000 to the trout farm expansion project through the Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board.

“Supporting the Waycobah First Nation with this funding is part of our commitment to growing our aquaculture industry responsibly and sustainably so that it creates jobs and economic opportunities while protecting the environment for our rural and coastal communities,” said Keith Colwell, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

The Ulnooweg Development Group is providing a total of $259,000 in grants, as well as a $100,000 loan.

“A project like the Waycobah trout farm and processing plant are prime examples of the positive outcomes that come from community investment,” Matthew Tapper, business development manager for the Ulnooweg Development Group stated. “Ulnooweg is proud to be a partner in these projects with the Waycobah First Nation.”

The Waycobah Band Council is also investing $135,000 in the expansion from revenue generated at the fish farm.

Income generated by the Waycobah Band Council from this venture will be reinvested in the community for future economic activities.

The band has an agreement with Northern Harvest Sea Farms to purchase and market the farm’s product.

The Waycobah First Nation plans to upgrade its facilities in accordance with market-driven considerations until it is capable of growing, harvesting and processing four-pound fillets on a year-round basis.

“The Waycobah First Nation is proud of its continued efforts to diversify its economy in a sustainable, economically responsible way through this aquaculture enterprise,” Waycobah Chief Rod Googoo noted. “It is a project with tremendous growth potential and we look forward to seeing the operation reach its full capacity.”

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A St. FX graduate and native of Arichat, Jake Boudrot has been the editor of The Reporter since 2001. He currently lives on Isle Madame.