“Industry is growing”: increase in the number of young fishermen is a good sign for the lobster fishing industry
SOUTHWEST NE – The number of young people becoming fishermen is booming, which is good news for the industry.
The Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board says that since they updated the regulations to increase the loan limit from $ 1 million to $ 5 million in 2018, they have seen a steady increase in the number of young fishermen. and new entrants to the industry.
Jennifer Thompson, director and CEO of the Nova Scotia Fisheries and Loans Board, says the new regulations provide financial flexibility to new young fishermen and reduce wait times for loan approvals.
“The office of the authorizing advisor takes several months to obtain approval for any loan over $ 1 million,” she explains. “In some cases, the [fishing] seasons don’t even last several months, and other commercial lenders demand higher deposits and shorter amortization. This made it more difficult for a younger person to meet these requirements.
Thompson says the loan increase is a sign of an evolving fishing industry, as rising prices for business licenses, fishing vessels and fishing gear are also factored into the updated regulations.
“We were seeing some of this before COVID-19,” says Thompson. “The cost of labor and supplies is also increasing with COVID-19, which also plays a role. “
Despite the pandemic, the implementation of the new regulations went smoothly. Of the total of 421 loans approved this year, 44% were for adults aged 19 to 35. This is a significant increase from 33% in 2018, when the new regulation was announced.
Tom Smith, executive director of the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia, says this is a good sign for the fishing and aquaculture industry as young people are integral to its sustainability and success in Nova Scotia. -Scotland.
“I think the industry is growing and… young people are looking to find opportunities for their future,” he says. “We believe the aquaculture sector will have a bright future for young people to stay here in the province, work in the province and be part of the industry.
Now that there seems to be a clear path to attracting young people into the industry, retaining them is another issue. Thompson says the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is launching a scholarship program for students, with a contribution of $ 1,500 per year for the education of a student interested in aquaculture and fisheries.
The Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia is also developing a similar program, focusing on skills development and worker retention. They plan to launch the program in early 2022.
“Finding and developing a skilled workforce here in the province is a significant challenge for the industry,” he said. “But we believe there is a bright future for rural and coastal communities, and for the development of the aquaculture industry here in Nova Scotia… the availability of labor for these industries is an important part of the industry’s growth strategy.
With a fishing industry worth more than $ 2 billion, Smith says there is growing interest as a business enterprise in the province.
“I think the fishing and aquaculture industries in Nova Scotia are seen as economic engines for the province,” he adds. “And I think more and more people looking to join the workforce are starting to see the fishing and aquaculture industry as great opportunities for their future.”