DARTMOUTH: A local inshore fisheries group was approved for federal and provincial funding to improve lobster quality.

On July 16, the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia announced funding through the Atlantic Fisheries Fund (AFF) to implement updated technology, equipment and processes to improve lobster holding, handling, processing, and quality.

In press releases issued by the federal and provincial governments, it was confirmed that the Inverness South Fishermen’s Association is receiving over $1.1 to modify vessels with new equipment and technology to improve water quality and aeration.

As a result of these changes, the press releases said harvesters will be able to monitor well and water quality to reduce lobster mortality and improve its landed condition.

Cape Breton-Canso MP Mike Kelloway said he has been working “closely” with fishing communities across the riding and he is eager to follow the work of the Inverness South Fishermen’s Association.

“This is just another example, within the riding, of the vibrancy of these associations and the proposals they’re putting forth that focus on efficiency, effectiveness and the industry,” Kelloway told The Reporter.

Kelloway said the willingness of fisheries groups to accept change fuelled his energy to work for them.

“Our fishers are so attuned to the fact that they know they have to evolve with the industry and this is an example of it. This is by no means a modest amount of investment. This is a good chunk of investment to the fishing association,” he said. “Inverness County, Richmond County, Guysborough County, and parts of Antigonish County, the fishing associations and organizations get it; they’re active participants in being part of the evolution of the industry, which is fantastic to see.”

The Strait area MP said this will have a far reaching impact on the riding.

“When you provide better quality, improved quality of product, you’re going to sell more product, you’re going to be able to export more product in more environmentally friendly ways, which every sector in the world is looking at,” he noted. “That high end quality proficiency of getting the product to sale is really, really important.”

The federal government will provide 70 per cent of the funding, with 30 per cent coming from the Atlantic provinces, the releases pointed out.

“We’re investing in value-added processing to help our seafood sector continue to meet increasing market demands for sustainably sourced, high-quality fish and seafood,” said Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell. “Our investments will also help harvesters make improvements to the holding, handling and transportation of live lobster, which is so important in world markets.”