The Central Nova MP spoke to a small crowd yesterday at the Pictou Fisheries School to announce $60 million in small craft harbour wharf improvements across the province, but he couldn’t help share his own enthusiasm for the seafood industry.
In 2013, the entire fishing industry had almost a $5 billion impact on the Canadian economy and the Canadian market is now exporting fish to 136 countries in 2014, which is up from 123 countries in 2013.
“There are few natural resource industries that have seen these increases and the national trend,” he said. “It comes at a time when the economy is struggling. It comes at a time when things such as the price of gasoline and labour is putting more and more pressure on your industry,” he said. “So that is a credit to your work ethic, the perseverance of history, the Atlantic Canadian contribution and what you as representatives of that industry are doing.”
MacKay said he expects this growth to continue because Canada recently signed a free trade agreement with South Korea to be ratified with the European Union that will eliminate 96 per cent of the tariffs on Canadian fish and seafood products.
Canada is expected to see a $1.7 billion boost in its economy because of the new agreement.
“When you look at the world map, you look at 28 countries, a $17 trillion economy, 500 million persons and we are the closest on that map. From Nova Scotia to that enormous, market place, think of all those hungry mouths that want Nova Scotia lobsters and Nova Scotia seafood products,” he said.
“If they are thinking about doing it effectively and saving fuel, it’s to come from Nova Scotia. This is a game changer for us and seafood products in particular will be at the forefront of these benefits.”
MacKay said Canadian seafood exports increased by 24 per cent or $89 million 2014 and this new agreement will only make it easier for markets to grow.
“It will help level the playing field with other countries that already enjoy free trade agreements with the EU and South Korea. This will make the market for our seafood projects more competitive and foster pre-sales.”
This growth will boost the local economy because fishermen are known for buying local, he said.
“We are on the cusp of something good,” he said. “I think Nova Scotia’s best days with trade and economy are ahead of us. We need people here and we need to bring them back and these are the boosts to the economy that will bring them home.”
MacKay said the federal government is also supporting the fisheries’ bright future by continuing to provide money for wharf improvements.
Canada will invest $60.3 million in major improvement projects at 48 harbours across Nova Scotia over the next two years.
Of this funding, $20 million will be allocated to harbour improvement projects at 17 harbours in Pictou County, Kings County, Guysborough County and across Cape Breton.
The ongoing work at the Caribou wharf that will see the extension of the wharf to accommodate up to 30 more boats will be completed in December 2016. The improvements will provide much more room for the homeport fleet as well as the transient vessels that use the harbour. It will also provide additional room for fish buyers to safely operate.
Dredging work also announced for the Little Harbour wharf as part of MacKay’s announcement.
- Sidebar: Work to be done
- Bay St. Lawrence – construction of new steel sheet pilings to replace the deteriorated training wall on the east side of the harbour
- Big Bras d’Or – replacing a deteriorated timber deck
- Canso – constructing an extension to the wharf
- Caribou Ferry – completing the construction of a breakwater that was started last year
- Chéticamp (La Digue) – completing the construction of a breakwater that was started last year and repairing a slipway
- Dingwall – dredging the channel and basin
- Dover (Little Dover) – replacing a deteriorated wharf with a new one
- Finlay Point – replacing a deteriorated wharf with a new one
- Glace Bay – replacing a deteriorated wharf with a new one
- Grand Étang – dredging the basin
- Halls Harbour – replacing a deteriorated wharf with a new one
- Judique (Baxter’s Cove) – dredging of the basin and channel
- Larry’s River – reconstruction of the outer section of a wharf
- Little Harbour (L’Ardoise) – dredging of the basin and channel
- Little River (Victoria County) – replacing a deteriorated wharf with a new one