Government of Canada and Province of New Brunswick help the Association des Crabiers Acadiens Inc. undertake testing of whale-safe snow crab fishing technologies

News release

November 14, 2023

Moncton, New Brunswick - With the longest coastline in the world, Canada’s coastal communities rely on the fish and seafood industry as an integral contributor to local and regional economies. This is why the Government of Canada and the Province of New Brunswick today announced funding support to the Association des Crabiers Acadiens Inc. (ACA) through the Atlantic Fisheries Fund (AFF).

The funding—with a total value of $2,823,946—will help carry out extensive testing of whale safe snow crab fishing using alternative gear and acoustic technologies. The total project cost is $3,852,950 and is a scale-up of the successful technologies tested in the first AFF funded project (2018-2020), which focused on the co-existence of North Atlantic right whales (NARW) and snow crab harvesters.

Spanning three years, this project has three separate activities:

  • testing of on demand technology (a buoy that rises to the surface on electronic demand) in closed areas of the Gulf of St. Lawrence with trawls of traps;
  • testing of fishing with low breaking strength gear (a weaker rope that breaks more easily than current ones) in open areas of the Gulf of St. Lawrence; and
  • tracking of whales and vessel activity using hydrophones.

L'Association des Crabiers Acadiens Inc. is a mid-shore snow crab harvesters association with 45 members fishing in Crab Fishing Area (CFA) 12. The project will be done in partnership with the Association des Pêcheurs Professionnels Crabiers Acadiens; together they represent the whole of the mid-shore snow crab fishery of CFA 12.

The contribution is from the $400-million AFF, funded by the federal and provincial governments. The AFF focuses on increasing opportunities and market value for sustainably sourced, high-quality fish and seafood products from Atlantic Canada.

Introduced in 2017, the AFF will continue to invest in projects over its seven-year life. The commercial fisheries and aquaculture industry, Indigenous groups, universities and academia, and industry associations and organizations, including research institutions, may apply.


"Innovation is a key pillar of the Atlantic Fisheries Fund that supports the growth of the region’s fish and seafood sector. As such, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is investing in initiatives such as this one to test alternative gear and other acoustic technologies in the snow crab fishery. Working together with the Association des Crabiers Acadiens Inc. we are striving to develop sustainable harvesting technologies for the industry while protecting the endangered iconic North Atlantic right whale."

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

"The snow crab fishery contributes significantly to the economy of many New Brunswick communities. Innovation will play an important role in the success of the fishery. Together with our federal partners and the Association des Crabiers Acadiens Inc. we look forward to developing sustainable harvesting technologies for the industry while protecting endangered marine life."

The Honourable Margaret Johnson, Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, Province of New Brunswick

"Since 2017, fish harvesters and everyone in the industry have made extraordinary efforts to adapt and develop new technologies to protect the North Atlantic right whale. I thank them for their efforts. This funding will enable us to continue our research and make these new tools more effective and better adapted to sea outings. The fishing industry is at the heart of our region's economy. We need to protect not only the whales, but also the communities that depend on this important resource.”

Serge Cormier, Member of Parliament, Acadie-Bathurst, New Brunswick

Quick facts

  • The Atlantic Fisheries Fund will invest over $400 million over seven years to support Canada’s fish and seafood sector.

  • The federal government will provide 70% of the funding, with 30% coming from the Atlantic provinces.

  • The fund aims to help Canada’s seafood sector transition to meet growing market demands for products that are high quality, value-added, and sustainably sourced.

  • Eligible projects must focus on:

    • Innovation – to support research and development of new innovations that contribute to sustainability of the fish and seafood sector, and to create partnerships and networks that aim to promote and encourage innovations in the sector;
    • Infrastructure – to adopt or adapt new technologies, processes, or equipment to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of the fish and seafood sector;
    • Science Partnerships – fisheries and aquaculture industry based partnerships with academia and institutions to enhance knowledge and understanding of the impacts of changing oceanographic conditions and sustainable harvesting technology.

Associated links


Jérémy Collard                         
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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