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Mi’kmaq First Nation, environmental group work on creating zero-emission lobster boat – Halifax

An environmental charity and Membertou First Nation in Nova Scotia are partnering to develop the first generation of electric lobster boats on the East Coast.

Oceans North announced Thursday it is working on the project with the Mi’kmaq community’s fisheries and boat-building corporations.

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Hubert Nicholas, the director of fisheries at Membertou, said in an interview the new boats will likely be costlier than diesel-powered vessels at first, but it’s expected there will be savings in maintenance and fuel costs.

The project’s initial research estimates 70 per cent of the inshore lobster fleet travels within 20 kilometres from shore and can be powered by batteries.

It also predicts that the decarbonization of the inshore lobster fleet could eliminate 82 million kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions — the equivalent of 20,000 cars.

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The first stage of the project has about $750,000 in funding, with $500,000 from Google’s philanthropic division and about
$250,000 from the Royal Bank of Canada.

Brent Dancey, director of marine climate action at Oceans North, says that after the feasibility study is complete, the project team will be seeking further funding to finish the design and construct the first boat at Membertou’s boatyard.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2022.

&copy 2022 The Canadian Press

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