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Digby port’s role in ocean innovation and technology discussed during meeting with COVE representatives | The Digby Courier





DIGBY, N.S. – CEO Jim Hanlon and COO Sheila Paterson were in Digby recently to promote the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE).

They were met with a representation of businesses, academics, First Nations and community leaders during their July 13 visit to showcase what the Port of Digby and southwestern Nova Scotia has to offer as a platform for research and innovation.

Clare-Digby MLA Gordon Wilson opened the meeting by welcoming COVE and acknowledging the value of the ocean economy to the region and the platform that the region presents for research and innovation. This platform includes: fisheries and aquaculture, vessel construction, marine maintenance and repair, marine transportation, marine tourism, tidal energy and marine protection.

The meeting explored ways in which the research and development being supported by COVE can have practical application in a working marine environment. Examples included ways to improve scallop harvesting; listening as well as watching whales; opportunities in tidal energy, testing of sensors, autonomous vehicles; and access to real-time information on the marine environment of benefit to all.

The Port of Digby is unique in providing access to all marine sectors.

“It’s important that COVE play a role in connecting these innovative towns with disruptive technology coming from the research community and from ocean technology entrepreneurs that are being drawn together around COVE" said Hanlon, "Our visit confirmed that the community in Digby is a great source of knowledge about the specific needs of that world-class fishery."

The background to the meeting is the planned major expansion at the port of Digby. Digby Harbour Port Association Chair Vance Hazelton described the port as a “victim of its success,” as the facility is oversubscribed. Should the port limit berthage to design capacity and leave up to 40 vessels seeking berthage elsewhere or plan for expansion? The Port of Digby has always sought to accommodate the growing fleet and decided to seek funding for expansion.

DHPA CEO Edwin Chisholm presented the details of the port expansion plan, which included extension of the outer Ell, dredging of the port and marina, a five-acre commercial site, a boat launch giving access to the Annapolis Basin and a new office and interpretative centre.

The CEO told those gathered that the port – through fishery and aquaculture landings, seafood processing, maintenance and repair º generates up to $100 million annually in direct value to the local economy.

Digby Mayor Ben Cleveland and Municipality of Digby Warden Jim MacAlpine cited the importance of the Port to the regional economy supported and encouraged this initiative to bring research and innovation to a working port.

ABOUT COVE

COVE is designed to grow the ocean economy of Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada and the whole country. Much of the innovation in that economy currently exists in the smaller coastal towns, particularly in towns with a vibrant fishery like Digby.




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