IGNITE Atlantic, a key player in fostering rural innovation, is set to drive significant changes in Nova Scotia’s fisheries sector. With a recent $150,000 grant, IGNITE will spearhead energy efficiency projects aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of the local fishing industry through the Fisheries and Aquaculture Energy Efficiency Innovation Fund.

A Vision for Sustainable Fisheries

Nova Scotia’s fishing industry is integral to its economy, providing substantial employment and generating significant revenue. However, it also contributes to the province’s carbon emissions. Recognizing this, the Government of Nova Scotia has launched a $6.5 million initiative over three years to enhance energy efficiency and adopt clean technologies across the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. This initiative includes electric and hybrid vessel conversions, renewable energy installations, equipment upgrades, and emission-reduction research.

IGNITE’s Role and Impact

IGNITE Atlantic has been awarded $150,000 to support energy efficiency projects specifically in Digby and Sheet Harbour. This funding will enable IGNITE to collaborate closely with the local fishing industry, focusing on electric vessel conversion. Doug Jones, CEO of IGNITE Atlantic, emphasizes the significance of this initiative:

“At IGNITE Atlantic, we recognize the importance of collaborating with industry and community and investing in infrastructure to facilitate the adoption of marine electrification in rural port communities. Understanding the diverse array of marine vessels, traffic patterns, and the specific needs of the commercial fisheries in Nova Scotia is crucial before investing in infrastructure. This project will play an important part in making this transition successful and sustainable.”

Broader Support and Opportunities

The Fisheries and Aquaculture Energy Efficiency Innovation Fund is part of Nova Scotia’s broader strategy to combat climate change. Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Kent Smith, stated, “Our industries are already leaders in fighting climate change through the investments they’re making to reduce energy use. With this new funding, they’ll be able to do even more to build a sustainable future and grow while helping Nova Scotia get to net zero.”

The program invites proposals for projects that:

  • Adapt emerging electric and hybrid technology for fishing vessels and fleets
  • Install renewable energy systems
  • Reduce emissions through equipment upgrades and new technology
  • Conduct research to enable future emission-reduction projects

Additionally, the Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board has established a dedicated lending program to support these initiatives, offering loans with reduced interest rates.

Demonstration Projects and Future Prospects

To kickstart the program, two demonstration studies on electric vessel conversion are being funded. Glas Ocean Electric in Halifax will receive $198,000 to work with the industry in northern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, while IGNITE Atlantic will receive $150,000 for similar efforts in Digby and Sheet Harbour.

In conclusion, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Energy Efficiency Innovation Fund represents a significant step forward for Nova Scotia’s fisheries sector. By leveraging the expertise and resources of organizations like IGNITE Atlantic, the province is well-positioned to lead in marine electrification and sustainable fishing practices. This initiative not only aims to reduce the carbon footprint of the fishing industry but also to enhance its competitiveness and sustainability, ensuring a prosperous future for Nova Scotia’s coastal communities.

Learn more about IGNITE’s initiatives here.