Atlantic Canadian lobster is recognized world-wide for its quality and outstanding taste, but climate change, rapidly evolving technologies and globalization, presents new challenges for this important sector of the Atlantic economy.
That’s why Springboard Atlantic and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) launched an initiative and led a series of events to engage key stakeholders of the lobster industry regarding growth and sustainability of their sector.
Four provincial industry engagement events took place throughout Atlantic Canada bridging the gap between industry and academia as they drilled down into key pressing challenges for Lobster harvesters, processors, shippers and buyers in Atlantic Canada.
Introducing: Lobster Research Expertise Map
As a result of these collaborative discussions, a pan-Atlantic Lobster Research Expertise Map was developed, which connects stakeholders to the myriad of research expertise and resources found throughout Atlantic Canada’s post-secondary institutions, government, and other lobster-related research organizations. The map is designed to be an easy access point for organizations in the lobster industry to who are looking to make connections with the research expertise needed overcome challenges.
In January 2019, following the provincial discussions, a pan-Atlantic event was held in Truro, NS where 10 researchers presented their expertise relevant to sector challenges and industry had an opportunity to engage with them and each other, fostering collaboration.
The event also featured Thor Sigfusson from the Iceland Ocean Cluster and John Sackton of Seafood News to share a global perspective.
Since this event, Atlantic Canada’s post-secondary institutions have been meeting with harvesters and processors to discuss and develop research projects. Now that these relationships have been formed, we expect the conversations to continue.
To ensure real progress and growth for the lobster industry, Springboard representatives at each post-secondary institution, were given access to $100K in funding through our Lobster Food File (LFF) Innovation Mobilization (IM) funds between March 2019 and March 2020 to help support collaborative projects that resulted from our events.
In total, 12 projects were supported by this fund and addressed identified key challenges identified during the engagement events regarding:
- Bait (alternatives and assessment),
- Data analytics and management (quality and stocks),
- Value-add products,
- Alternatives to single use plastics, and
- Supporting automation efforts.
A number of these projects delivered solutions to industry and are now are in the process of being implemented, while others mark the start of a new relationship between industry and academia that will continue the work to help support this vital sector for Atlantic Canada going forward.