This funding will be provided by the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture through the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program. The initiative is being carried out in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW).
"This is a particularly important project for the harvesting sector at a time when energy prices are high," said the Honourable Trevor Taylor, acting Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. "The industry advises our government that soaring fuel prices have drastically impacted profitability of the harvesting sector in this province."
"CCFI has spearheaded a wide range of initiatives in recent years to mitigate the impact of rising fuel costs"
Carey Bonnell, Managing Director of the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation.
In order to assist the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, an advisory team has been put in place to guide the initiative. The team includes representation from the Provincial Government, CCFI, the FFAW, the Marine Institute, Memorial University, the National Research Council, and, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. This committee was formed earlier this year to design a strategy in terms of short, medium and long-term measures that can be implemented to assist the harvesting sector address fuel efficiency issues.
"CCFI has spearheaded a wide range of initiatives in recent years to mitigate the impact of rising fuel costs," said Carey Bonnell, Managing Director of the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation. "The key output from this project will be the delivery of eight regional workshops throughout the province, focused on an immediate and measurable reduction in fuel consumption."
The project will have an initial phase to develop an in-depth program to be directed towards identifying solutions to very serious energy efficiency challenges facing the harvesting sector. The initial phase will identify short-term measures that can result in potential energy savings that can be implemented for the 2009 fishing season. A steering committee has been formed that will oversee this initial phase. In order to provide tangible targets, the steering committee has proposed a reduction in energy consumption by up to 20 per cent by 2009.
"This project is the first step in addressing one of the major challenges facing the provinces fishing industry the high cost of fuel," said David Decker, FFAW/CAW Secretary-Treasurer. "It will help us identify the needs, and the kind of investment that will be required to put a green boat plan in place, reducing fuel costs for our members and reducing the fishing industrys carbon footprint. The skyrocketing fuel costs had the potential of shutting down some fisheries this year. We need to do whatever we can to get these costs under control so fisheries and jobs are not threatened."
The immediate goal of the project is to analyze the industrys fuel consumption patterns based on current practices. The team will then quantify potential fuel savings through specific energy efficient measures and identify areas where efficiency gains can be made in the short-term. The project will identify what harvesters are already doing and share energy efficiency measures between the inshore fishing fleet.
"My department is looking forward to working with our colleagues in industry and the post-secondary institutions to address this very serious problem that is facing a number of industries as the price of fuel continues to grow," said Minister Taylor. "We are sure that it will complement the existing provincial and federal tax relief measures available to harvesters and processors to reduce the impact of the increasing cost of fuel."
The Provincial Government has allocated $6 million over three years for research and development projects under the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program. Budget 2008 allocated $2 million for this year. To date, more than $1.6 million in project funding has been approved under the program. This program is a component of the Fishing Industry Renewal Strategy.