LOWER L’ARDOISE: A seafood processing company in Richmond County received federal funding to store more product and remain safe during the global pandemic.

On March 31, Cape Breton-Canso MP Mike Kelloway announced Lobsters ‘R Us Seafood in Lower L’Ardoise is receiving a $450,000 repayable contribution to expand its facility, increase cold-water storage capacity and add ice-making equipment.

The company is also receiving a $50,000 non-repayable contribution for facility upgrades to meet COVID-19 health and safety requirements, the government noted.

“The monies are for protective equipment, increased storage capacity… and equipment upgrades, and the whole focus is on rural businesses, keeping them viable and safe,” Kelloway told The Reporter. “It’s designed to increase the industry’s capacity to process, store, package, and distribute a health, high-quality product. So basically, it’s helping them retool their processes and marketing to adapt to changing demand of the consumers, COVID and post-COVID.”

Kelloway said the funding recipients are “very progressive” businesses that play significant roles in local the oceans economy.

“We need to do everything we can to invest those companies that are doing amazing work,” Kelloway said. “I know Blaire Martell with Lobsters ‘R Us, and the work he’s done; a progressive business person, gives back to the community.”

Lobsters ‘R’ Us is a family- owned and operated business which was created in 1992, beginning operations in 2004.

In 2011, Lobster ‘R’ Us designed its own storage facility, allowing them the ability to store a greater quantity of lobster for longer periods of time.

The plant also markets snow crab, which is sold to Atlantic Canada processing plants to be prepared for American, European and Asian markets.

On April 25, 2020, the federal government announced the $62.5 million Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund (CSSF). The government said the fund was created to help fish and seafood processors adapt to the challenges of COVID-19.

According to the federal government, Canada’s ocean industries contribute approximately $31.7 billion to Canada’s GDP every year.