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Funding to Improve Canadian Whelk Harvesting Technology

03 January 2014

CANADA - The Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation has received C$15,000 to advance new whelk sorting technology to support a prosperous fishery.

The Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation, in partnership with the Marine Institute’s Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development, will receive approximately C$15,000 through the Provincial Government’s Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Programme to further refine new technology that sorts whelk as it is harvested at sea.

The current prototype is used to separate and return undersized whelk back into the water. Planned refinements are expected to improve quality by reducing the amount of handling the product receives, and also enhance the ergonomics of the equipment and reduce the time required to harvest.

“Enhancing harvesting efficiency is vital to maximizing the value of provincial whelk resources for harvesters. Our investment of approximately C$15,000 will further develop sorting machinery that could significantly save costs and reduce time on the water, which would benefit all harvesters in this sector,” said Keith Hutchings, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

The whelk fishery is concentrated in the waters off the south coast of the island, and has generated substantial harvesting activity in recent years, with annual landings of approximately 5,000 tonnes.

With refinement, this new sorting equipment has the potential to provide significant efficiencies while simultaneously removing and returning almost all of the undersized whelk back to the ocean, which would significantly improve the value harvesters receive per pound of catch.

“The Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation has contributed to approximately 800 fishery-related research and development projects to enhance harvesting, processing and aquaculture operations and develop global competitive advantage. We appreciate the ongoing cooperation we enjoy from the Provincial Government and the Marine Institute, and look forward to completing this research project, which could significantly benefit whelk harvesters in the future," said Robert Verge, Managing Director, Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation.

Through sound fiscal management and responsible decisions, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is strengthening the business environment, encouraging the development of innovative industries, and building a vibrant economy.

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