HALIFAX: A local fish processing facility is getting more help to grow the operation.

The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced they are providing $44,716,544 million for the Nova Scotia seafood sector from the Atlantic Fisheries Fund.

According to the province, the funding will support 11 projects that benefit seafood processors and associations, including $1,262,400 for Canso Seafoods, to provide what fisheries minister Keith Colwell called, “state of the art lobster cooking and processing equipment.”

Colwell, and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bernadette Jordan, made the funding announcement virtually on Feb. 4.

“This will allow the company to develop new products for international markets, increase production and efficiencies, diversify product offering, lengthen the processing season and increase employment opportunities for the Canso area,” Colwell told The Reporter.

On October 5, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) announced that Canso Seafoods was receiving a repayable loan of $900,000.

ACOA said the funding would enable Canso Seafoods to add a new building to its existing manufacturing plant, along with acquiring a custom-made steam cooker and a high-efficiency freezer that will allow the company to increase production, lengthen the processing season, diversify product lines, and hire more employees.

According to ACOA, the expansion and new technology will help Canso Seafoods maintain a competitive edge in local and international markets for lobster and snow crab.

The funding was provided through ACOA’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program.

“Companies like Canso Seafoods are an important partner in the global seafood value chain,” Colwell said. “Nova Scotia seafood is world-renowned as a safe and sustainable food source and helping companies with COVID-19 adaptations and protections will help ensure that our reputation is maintained and that companies can capitalize on emerging export markets.”

According to the province, the fish and seafood industry supports about 18,000 direct jobs and was last valued at $2.3 billion, representing 38 per cent of the province’s exports.

Also receiving funding was the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia, which will receive $4,466,089 to maximize the productivity of shellfish sites, according to the province.

The Coldwater Lobster Association was approved for $3,081,830 for what the province called lobster quality enhancement projects, as well as holding and aeration.

Funding of $14,453,234 for the Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance has the goals of supporting equipment and innovation activities for members, the province said.

According to the province, Perennia Food and Agriculture was greenlit for $1,795,650 to support COVID-19 response in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, then another $1,178,550 to help expand export markets for premium quality seafood.