(St. John’s, NL, 06 December 2013) The Atlantic Seal Development Association is undertaking a new pilot project to develop high quality, value-added seal meat products, thanks in part to support from the Governments of Canada and of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The announcement was made today by the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, on behalf of the Honourable Rob Moore, Regional Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency), along with the Honourable Keith Hutchings, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
“Our Government has long stood behind the thousands of Canadians in coastal and Northern communities who depend on the seal harvest to provide a livelihood for their families and to maintain their culture, traditions and quality of life,” said Minister Shea. “That is why we support the Atlantic Seal Development Association’s efforts to work with its partners to develop new products, target international markets and create employment in a rural region of Atlantic Canada.”
“The Provincial Government values the economic and cultural significance of Newfoundland and Labrador’s humane and professional seal hunt, and has committed significant funds to foster the success of the seal industry,” said Minister Hutchings. “By investing in this project, we are supporting product development activity that has the potential to enhance prosperity in rural areas, and generate new revenue that will make the industry even stronger in the future.”
A combined investment of almost $498,000 from the Government of Canada, through ACOA, and the provincial departments of Fisheries and Aquaculture and Innovation, Business and Rural Development will enable the Atlantic Seal Development Association to develop a frozen seal meat product for the wholesale market and a vacuum-packed consumer-ready product for the retail market. The Association is working with the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University and the private sector to develop these two new high-quality products, which will be tested in niche Canadian and international markets.
“It is our objective through this initiative to develop value-added processes that will lead to the full utilization of the harp, gray and hood seal to meet the demand for highly nutritional natural food sources,” said Shannon Lewis, Director, Atlantic Seal Development Association. “This program will foster increased economic activity for businesses in our region, which in turn will increase the social and economic impacts for our rural communities by creating important employment opportunities.”
The Government of Canada’s investment of $292,000 is provided through ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund, which focuses on investments that lead to long-term employment and economic capacity building in rural communities. The provincial department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is contributing $78,901, while the provincial Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development is providing $126,900.
Office of the Minister of State
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Acting Director, Public Affairs
Director of Communications
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
Atlantic Seal Development Association