Harper government invests in new small craft harbour in Pangnirtung

Pangnirtung, Nunavut
20 August 2009


Nunavut’s fishery presents an excellent opportunity for local economic growth and for the development of regional employment.

In the last ten years, Nunavut’s offshore fishery, based in the Davis Strait, has become the Territory’s most important.  However, the greatest potential for future economic development occurs in the inshore turbot fishery.

The Government of Nunavut’s 2003 Economic Development Strategy identified the increased participation of Nunavummiut in local fisheries as a means to distribute the benefits of the fishery more widely and to increase the economic diversification of the region.

Local fishermen do not yet have an appropriate harbour-related infrastructure or the supporting services needed to encourage further development of the inshore fishery.

In 2006, a joint Government of Canada (Department of Fisheries and Oceans)-Nunavut study concluded that Pangnirtung would be a promising site for investment in a small craft harbour as it offered the opportunity for positive impacts on local industry and regional fisheries.  Pangnirtung is located in the Qikiqtani Region of the Territory of Nunavut near the southern tip of Cumberland Peninsula.

In the 2008 federal budget, $8 million in funding for a small craft harbour in Pangnirtung was provided, while a further $17 million was allocated in Budget 2009 under Canada’s Economic Action Plan.

The Government of Canada is providing additional support through aids to navigation and scientific and fishery resource management, updated hydrographic charts for the harbour and the immediate surrounding area, and new programs and staff.  Furthermore, the Government is working to implement new regulations to ensure an ongoing, sustainable fishery for the future.

Phase one of the construction will involve the building of a second breakwater to protect the existing inner harbour from the main wave and wind conditions.  This phase will provide: shelter to users, their vessels and gear; installation of floating docks to tie up, load and unload small vessels; dredging of a small inner basin to provide many users with longer and safer access to and egress from the harbour; and a marshalling area to load and unload small vessels and to dry haul vessels for repair or storage.  Once the first phase is completed, the facility will be able to accommodate small vessels, while the second phase will permit mid-size vessels to make use of the facility.  Further details about the second phase will be available as the construction develops.


The Federal Government is responsible for 1163 harbours, of which 986 are fishing harbours and 177 are recreational harbours.  Nearly 90 per cent of all fish landings in Canada, valued at approximately $2 billion, occur at ‘small craft harbours’ and harbour infrastructure plays a vital role in the economy of many coastal communities.

To encourage job creation and new economic opportunities in these communities, Canada’s Economic Action Plan includes $200 million to help accelerate repair and maintenance and undertake dredging at core commercial fishing harbours across Canada.

This investment is in addition to the regular Small Craft Harbours Program budget of approximately $80 million for projects across Canada in 2009-10.  Budget 2008 also committed $5 million in 2009-10 for repairs and environmental cleanup at recreational and non-core fishing harbours, to permit their transfer to interested parties.


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