Emergency dredging projects announced for New Brunswick fishing harbours

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The federal government announced on April 23 that it is undertaking emergency dredging projects at four fishing harbours in northern and eastern New Brunswick. "Harbours need consistent maintenance to continue operating safely and efficiently," said Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs, on behalf of Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn. "Dredging will provide users, particularly those with larger vessels, access to the harbour and increase marine safety by maintaining the charted depths of the channels."

Infilling of harbour channels, to a degree that restricts safe passage for vessels, is an annual and sometimes semi-annual event in areas where currents and wave action carry sand along the coastline. In order to provide adequate water depth for fish harvesters to safely access the fishing grounds for the spring lobster fishery, redredging of the outer channels is required at McEacherns Point and Pigeon Hill. At Sainte-Marie-Sur-Mer the entrance channel will be dredged, and at Pointe Sapin, where fish harvesters are preparing for the herring fishery, the entrance channel will also be cleared for passage.

The federal government is providing $600,000 to undertake these projects on an urgent basis. All four harbours will be the site of activity in the next few weeks as tons of sand are removed, and local harbour authorities will work throughout the season to ensure fish harvesters are provided with safe navigation conditions.

These projects will be implemented by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as part of its Small Craft Harbours Program in cooperation with the Harbour Authorities that manage and operate the facilities for local users. Close cooperation with clients allows the federal government to continue to provide an operable system of harbours and facilities throughout Canada in support of commercial fish harvesters.

Since February 2006, the permanent annual funding for the Small Craft Harbours Program has been increased by $20 million, with a further $10 million commitment made in Budget 2008 over two years for repairs and environmental cleanup at recreational and non-core fishing harbours to permit the transfer of these harbours to interested parties.

Organizations: Veterans Affairs, Dredging, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Geographic location: New Brunswick, Pigeon Hill, Sainte-Marie-Sur Canada

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