Good morning afternoon.
I am delighted to be here in Seal Cove, and thankful that the Grand Manan Harbour Authority extended an invitation for me to join in today’s celebration. It is so rewarding to see the completion of this major harbour development project. It was a lot of hard work, and I know that so many of you folks here had a hand in making it happen.
To build on what MP Williamson was saying, our government recognizes that harbours support local economies and create jobs. Ensuring they are kept in good operating condition will benefit the people who use them and the communities where they are located, for years to come.
Small craft harbours support the commercial fishing industry. Harbour authorities that manage small craft harbours, the fishing industry, and communities benefit from core fishing harbours that serve a range of users.
The Canadian commercial fishing industry provides employment in many coastal, rural and isolated communities. This includes approximately 80,000 jobs within the industry as well as thousands of additional jobs in supporting industries.
Seal Cove harbour is vital to New Brunswick’s fishing industry and to your coastal communities.
That is why I am so pleased to see the end results of the multi-year major capital harbour development project here at Seal Cove.
This year alone, our Government invested $1.3 million to install an electrical system on the floating wharves and to complete the service area. This work has just recently been completed.
I am pleased to report that these final improvements will complete the long-term harbour development project that has been ongoing at this site for years. That brings our total investment in this harbour to $13.8 million!
This funding allowed for the construction of a breakwater, marginal wharf and service area, a breakwater extension, installation of floating wharves and basin dredging.
This work demonstrates our Government’s understanding that investing in small craft harbours is critical for economic growth and prosperity in coastal communities like Seal Cove.
Investing in small craft harbours means investing in our coastal communities. It means creating jobs for Canadians, like the hard-working folks of New Brunswick.
Our government supports Canadian fishermen by partnering with local Harbour Authorities — just like here on the island — to improve the facilities that enable fishermen to safely and profitably do their work.
I would like to take this opportunity to highlight New Brunswick’s tremendous harbour authorities. They are essential to the social and economic life of our coastal communities.
The most impressive part of the Harbour Authority Program is the contribution made by its volunteers. Harbour Authority members give freely of their time to ensure harbours are well managed and safe for all.
The Harbour Authority here is no exception. Your Harbour Authority is the link between members of the community and these waters; the link between harbour users and the federal government.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Grand Manan Harbour Authority, who manages Seal Cove, for their collaboration, hard work and dedication. I would also like to acknowledge the significant contributions of harbour authorities across New Brunswick. They’re all doing fantastic work.
Our Government is proud to support Seal Cove and its Harbour Authority through the Small Craft Harbours Program.
Seal Cove and its fishermen are at the heart of life on this island. Like their colleagues across the province, hard-working fishermen and women help drive the New Brunswick economy and we are pleased to provide them with the harbour infrastructure they need to earn a living and support their families.
We are also pleased to work with groups interested in lightstations here and across the country. Before wrapping up, I would like to mention the Gannet Rock Lighthouse, off the coast of Grand Manan. This lighthouse was among those declared surplus in 2010 and has been petitioned to be considered for heritage designation under the Heritage Lighthouse Preservation Act. Under this Act, community groups have the opportunity to take ownership of the lighthouse.
DFO remains committed to working with interested groups on the divestiture of lightstations, including Gannet Rock. I’d like to draw attention to the Swallow Tail divestiture — under my department’s regular divestiture program — as an excellent example of what we can achieve by working with interested parties.
In closing, I want you to know that the Government of Canada believes in the growth potential of our Canadian fisheries. We believe in the future of this sector, and are committed to working with you to build a more prosperous and sustainable fishery.