Scaling up Aboriginal Aquaculture Industry

News Release

Government investment will help Waycobah First Nation expand its grow operation and processing facility

January 8, 2018–Whycocomagh, NS – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

The aquaculture industry contributes significantly to the economic diversification of many rural communities. When the industry thrives, expansion opportunities arise with increasing national and international market demand for sustainably grown and harvested seafood products. That is why the Government of Canada is supporting the growth of Waycobah First Nation’s steelhead trout farm operation so it can grow, harvest, process and sell larger fillets to increase the product’s salability and meet this growing market demand.

Rodger Cuzner, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton – Canso, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), today announced a total of $545,000 in non-repayable contributions for two projects at the Waycobah First Nation to expand its trout growing operation and upgrade its processing facility.

The funding is being made through ACOA’s Business Development Program, which supports small and medium-sized enterprises and not-for-profit organizations that provide support to Atlantic businesses. The Province of Nova Scotia is contributing $140,000 to the trout farm expansion project through the Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board. The Ulnooweg Development Group is providing a total of $259,000 in grants as well as a $100,000 loan. The Waycobah Band Council is also investing $135,000 in the expansion from revenue generated at the fish farm.

This investment builds on commitments made by the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic provinces to drive economic growth in the region through the Atlantic Growth Strategy, which involves targeted actions to create opportunities for all Atlantic Canadians, including Indigenous people, support long-term growth and position the region to capitalize on emerging opportunities. 


“The Government of Canada is committed to creating sustainable growth, economic opportunity and prosperity in communities across Canada to help grow the middle class. Our investment will help the Waycobah First Nation foster greater ties to national and international export markets for its processed seafood, which has been identified as a meaningful contributor to economic viability and development in the region.”

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA 

“The Waycobah First Nation is developing a well-earned reputation for providing high-quality, sustainably harvested seafood for national and international export. I am pleased that today’s funding announcement is supporting the expansion of this community-based initiative, an important economic contributor for this Indigenous community, further demonstrating the Government of Canada’s commitment to the aquaculture industry.”

Rodger Cuzner, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton – Canso 

“Supporting the Waycobah First Nation with this funding is part of our commitment to growing our aquaculture industry responsibly and sustainably so that it creates jobs and economic opportunities while protecting the environment for our rural and coastal communities.”

The Honourable Keith Colwell, Nova Scotia Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture

“The Waycobah First Nation is proud of its continued efforts to diversify its economy in a sustainable, economically responsible way through this aquaculture enterprise. It is a project with tremendous growth potential and we look forward to seeing the operation reach its full capacity.

Chief Rod Googoo, Waycobah First Nation

“A project like the Waycobah trout farm and processing plant are prime examples of the positive outcomes that come from community investment. Ulnooweg is proud to be a partner in these projects with the Waycobah First Nation.”

Matthew Tapper, Business Development Manager, Ulnooweg Development Group 

Quick Facts

  • Income generated by the Waycobah Band Council from this venture will be reinvested in the community for future economic activities

  • The Band has an agreement with Northern Harvest Sea Farms to purchase and market the farm’s product. 

  • The Waycobah First Nation plans to upgrade its facilities in accordance with market-driven considerations until it is capable of growing, harvesting and processing four-pound fillets on a year-round basis. 


Alex Smith
Director of Communications and Outreach
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Phone: 902-426-9417 / 902-830-3839 (cell)

Chief Rod Googoo
Waycobah First Nation
Phone: (902) 756-2337 / 902-295-0351

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