CANADA ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR CRAB PROCESSING
Canada announces support for crab processing. The Canadian Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Quebec, André Lamontagne, have announced joint financial assistance to two groups in the crab fishing industry. The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food made the announcement in Sept-Îles, during his tour of the North Shore region.
Minister Lamontagne announced that the UMEK Group will receive financial support of up to $499,580 from the Quebec Agriculture Fisheries and Food Ministry (MAPAQ) and $147,284 in financial assistance from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). The financial support will be significant for the company since these investments will increase its productivity and profitability and will be a further step towards the complete modernization of the production line undertaken by the UMEK Group in recent years.
This funding will support a project to automate its Snow crab packing line, which will allow it to pack continuously, without slowing down the pace of the processing line. The project also aims to automate the washing process of the cooking tanks during Snow crab processing to reduce process water use by 86 per cent. This project is made possible through the DFO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Clean Technology Adoption Programme (FACTAP) and a MAPAQ Financial Support Programme for the Development of the Commercial Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector.
The Association québécoise de l’industrie de la pêche (AQIP) will receive financial support totalling $976,500 as part of the Quebec Fisheries Fund (QFF). The QFF is a contribution programme jointly funded by DFO and MAPAQ to support the Quebec fish and seafood sector. DFO contributes 70 per cent of this amount, or $683,550, and MAPAQ contributes 30 per cent, or $292,950. This assistance will be used to develop a prototype snow crab section classification system. The new equipment will use state-of-the-art vision and X-ray systems.
The AQIP project will be tested at the UMEK plant and has a number of objectives, including: design of modern equipment that integrates imaging and weight-based decision making; decrease labour requirements; increase productivity of operations on the sorting line; standardization of sorting by applying objective criteria; standardization of the finished product; elimination of human handling; and, redistribution of labour to tasks where it is essential. The results of the testing will be made available to other marine product processing plants.
This announcement reflects the shared priority of the federal and Quebec governments to participate in the vitalization of the North Shore community, and increase the supply of Quebec fish and seafood products. In addition, the financial support announced will help guarantee a safer and consistent quality product for consumers and reflects the desire of Snow crab processors to enhance the value of this profession and attract labour by improving employee conditions.
Bernadette Jordan, minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, said:
“Our government is proud to partner with the Government of Quebec to support the hardworking women and men of the Snow crab industry through the Quebec Fisheries Fund , as they work to improve technology, increase productivity, and continue to make their practices more sustainable. Innovative, clean technology is essential to protecting and restoring our oceans’ health, and through our Fisheries and Aquaculture Clean Technology Adoption Programme funding we will continue to invest in those who are who are working toward this shared goal.”
André Lamontagne, Quebec minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, said:
“The reputation of the North Shore Snow crab is well established. Fishing and processing are essential components of the regional economy. The projects announced will benefit crab processing companies. AQIP’s collaborative project with the UMEK Group, which will make it the most automated processing plant in the region’s fisheries sector, is a fine example of concerted efforts and the desire to work together for the sector’s prosperity. With this financial assistance, the governments of Quebec and Canada are tackling collective issues such as labour scarcity. I am delighted to see the results of these investments for the entire North Shore community.”
Mr. André Lamontagne, Quebec minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
- The Quebec Fisheries Fund is a contribution programme funded jointly by the governments of Canada and Quebec. It will invest $42.8 million over five years to support Quebec’s fish and seafood sector. Funding for the programme will come 70 per cent from the Government of Canada and 30 per cent from the Government of Quebec.
- The Fisheries and Aquaculture Clean Technology Adoption Programme is a national contribution programme. It will invest $20 million over four years (2017 to 2021) to assist Canada’s fisheries and aquaculture industries in improving their environmental performance.
- The UMEK Group is a consortium comprising a majority of Indigenous shareholders, and is the processing plant’s owner since 2005.
- The Association québécoise de l’industrie de la pêche (AQIP) is a non-profit organization founded in June 1978 by marine product processing companies in Quebec’s maritime regions.