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New Funding for Strategic Investments in Aquaculture

NEW BRUNSWICK - The 2008-2009 budget for the New Brunswick government will provide C$1 million in new funding for strategic investments in the agriculture and aquaculture sectors.

The new funding is the highlight of the ordinary, capital, and loans advances accounts departmental budget of $37.6 million for 2008-2009. This represents an increase of six per cent over last year's budget.

"The additional funding of C$1 million will help the agriculture and aquaculture sectors to be viable over the long term by capturing opportunities and addressing industry challenges," Agriculture and Aquaculture Minister Ronald Ouellette said.

"We will continue to be supportive of these sectors so that they can fully participate to the objective of this government of achieving self-sufficiency by 2026."

The ordinary budget of the department is C$35.6 million, which is C$2.2 million more than last year's budget.

In addition, there is an allocation of C$6.5 million under the Department of Supply and Services for capital construction projects of the department during the next year.

Through federal-provincial initiatives, capital investments in the Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture include nearly C$2 million as the provincial contribution for a new veterinary laboratory incinerator, and the construction of a new post-mortem/incinerator room in Fredericton. The total estimated cost in 2008-2009 for this project is C$3.6 million. As well, a total of C$735,000 will be invested to construct a standalone veterinary lab to enable the Province to do testing for foreign animal diseases such as avian influenza.

Additionally, the Province will invest $2.2 million in a new provincial fish health laboratory in St. George, which will place New Brunswick at the forefront of aquatic animal health science. The Province will recover C$535,000 of that amount through a partnership with the Atlantic Veterinary College for the construction and use of the new laboratory.

"These investments will help to enhance the conditions for companies in the agriculture and aquaculture sectors to be successful," Mr Ouellette said.

"This support is key to ensuring that these vital sectors continue to be important components of our provincial economy in creating a self-sufficient future for all New Brunswickers."