B.M.C. Seafoods Expanding

B.M.C. Seafoods Ltd. in Meteghan is expanding its operations with increased storage capacity and state-of-the-art grading equipment for live lobster.

“This expansion will help us compete toe-to-toe internationally with large- scale seafood corporations by enabling us to provide premium quality live lobsters to markets around the world. Through extending our operations, we are helping to ensure the superior taste of Nova Scotia lobster will be known far and wide,” said Cedric Robicheau, President and Owner of B.M.C. Seafoods Ltd. The company will be availing of a $225,000 repayable contribution through ACOA’s Business Development Program for the project.

The funding will allow B.M.C. Seafoods to purchase chillers and a refrigeration system, grading and packaging equipment, a monitoring and security system, pumps, filters and more for the premium grading of lobster.

In addition, B.M.C. Seafoods’ will be increasing its lobster holding capacity by 50,000 pounds, enabling them to hold up to 300,000 pounds of live lobster, giving the company the capacity to purchase live lobster from a total of 67 fishing boats in nine geographical fishing areas.

The expansion will allow the company to operate year-round, converting 50 seasonal positions to full-time jobs, and creating 13 new jobs.

B.M.C Seafoods has operated in Meteghan for more than 20 years and is currently working to meet all Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Transport Canada requirements for the successful export of the increased volume and quality of product.

Canada’s Marine Refuges Need an Upgrade, says SeaBlue Canada Report

A new report from SeaBlue Canada reveals that more than half of Canada’s marine refuges, a form of marine protected area in Canada, do not yet meet international standards.

While Canada has made significant progress to protect its marine and coastal environment, the report shows stronger standards are required to effectively conserve biodiversity.

Since 2015, Canada has designated 7.9 per cent of the ocean as protected areas. However, with more than half of that protected under Fisheries Act measures — areas referred to as marine refuges — many harmful industrial practices can still continue. Fisheries Act measures restrict fishing impacts and some other harmful activities but cannot protect against many other significant threats to the marine environment.

“We want to ensure that Canada’s efforts to protect marine wildlife are meaningful and effectively preserve biodiversity and habitats,” says Susanna Fuller of Oceans North, a co-author of the report. “Right now, there are several areas where improvements need to be made and we urge decision-makers take our recommendations seriously.”

Using publicly available information, the report reviewed all 54 areas protected through the Fisheries Act and assessed how these areas met criteria set out by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, as well as guidance recently adopted at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to which Canada is a signatory. Meeting CBD criteria determines if sites can count as “protected” at an international level. Canada has committed to revisiting its marine refuges following the adoption of international guidance.

The majority of current fisheries closures prohibit all bottom fishing activities and have been put in place to protect fragile sponge and coral communities. Some were designed to protect a single species or prohibit only a single type of fishing gear.

Major recommendations of the report include:

Update national guidance to align with international standards, particularly as Canada can set an example for other countries by improving marine refuges to more fully align with international standards.

Pass the amended Fisheries Act, currently in second reading at the Senate of Canada, to ensure these areas become permanently protected through ecologically special areas provisions.

Clearly identify monitoring and management for each marine refuge to ensure biodiversity is being effectively conserved.

Smaller areas that only protect a single species should be removed from consideration as marine refuges when they do not contribute to the overall protection of biodiversity, despite being important fisheries management measures.

Review the Atlantic Offshore Accord Agreements so that oil and gas exploration and development is restricted from areas closed to protect fish and fish habitat.