The Mi’gmaq Maliseet Aboriginal Fisheries Management Association (MMAFMA) undertook its Baie-des-Chaleurs marine macroalgae conversion project following a study on emergent species that had been commissioned by its three member communities in 2013 to diversify their fishing and aquaculture activities. In 2015, initially as a pilot project, the organization embarked on a challenge to develop products intended for human consumption using aquaculture algae.
Development of the new range of SALAWEG products (2016–2018)
Two years later, the SALAWEG range of products was born. It includes a sea relish, a tartar mix and two spice blends – one for meat and another for fish. In spring 2016, a resource was hired to work on the project full time. MMAFMA worked with many partners, including Merinov, École hôtelière de la Capitale, Papilles Développement, Ferme maricole du Grand Large and Fermes marines du Québec, in the early stages of developing and marketing its kelp-based food products. Since then, its recipes have been scaled up for commercial production of the four products in its range, the brand has been registered, and improvements have been made to optimize marine cultivation. With a view to testing the market, the first sales were made in summer 2017.
Improvement of productivity and expansion of activities (2018–2019)
In order to secure its kelp production and process larger volumes, MMAFMA acquired its own mariculture site this year. Some areas were sown with seedlings on the new Paspébiac site last week in order to complete an initial autonomous production run in 2019. Owing to SALAWEG’s great success, efforts are currently being made to develop secondary and tertiary processing activities and to transfer the project from MMAFMA, a non-profit organization, to a new entity held by the three communities, which will be able to ensure that the project continues on a larger scale. Five jobs have been created to date.
As the result of a successful collaboration with the Government of Canada, MMAFMA has been able to rely, from the outset, on support from various departments to carry out its project. The organization has received a total of $693,456 in contributions since 2016.
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, a key federal player in regional economic development in Quebec, has provided the organization with a total of $235,919 in financial assistance, in the form of non-repayable contributions – $99,998 from 2016 to 2018 and $135,921 for 2018−2019 – under its Quebec Economic Development Program.
Since 2016, the project has also received a total of $232,067 in financial assistance from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, through its Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative and the Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management Program.
Finally, Indigenous Services Canada contributed to the success of the SALAWEG project by providing $225,470 through the Maritime Initiative, a Strategic Partnerships Initiative, over a three-year period: $52,101 in 2016–2017, $98,635 in 2017–2018 and $74,734 in 2018–2019.
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions
Indigenous Services Canada
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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