Louisbourg Seafoods Grows Production, Salaries and Customer Base with NSBI Innovation and Supportive Programming

Technological innovation is on the rise in business enterprises across Nova Scotia, and the seafood industry is one of many examples that any business can replicate and benefit from.

Founded in 1984, Louisbourg Seafoods is an award-winning seafood company with processing plants on Cape Breton Island and northern Nova Scotia. Recognized for its commitment to sustainability and the coastal communities in which it operates, the family business processes snow crab, whelk, northern shrimp, lobster and groundfish, as well as other seafood products. fresh and local.

Louisbourg Seafoods aims to completely modernize each of its facilities.


In 2021, the company entered the Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) Small and Medium Business Innovation Rebate (PRI PME) program to receive a 25% rebate on capital investments to improve its site of Canso.

Investments include new frozen food equipment and production line automation, which have increased product yield while easing the physical burden on company employees.

Automated grading systems can identify a product’s weight as well as any imperfections, eliminating the guesswork. By identifying imperfections, the company can determine whether to sell a product, such as lobster, whole or in pieces. By removing the meat and tail to sell separately, the product can fetch a higher rate in the profitable meat and tail market.

In 2021, Louisbourg Seafoods entered NSBI’s Small and Medium Business Innovation Rebate Program (SME IRP) to receive a 25% rebate on capital investments to improve its Canso site.

The new system has improved processing times and increased production. This season, frozen raw whole lobster processing at Canso more than doubled to 15 containers from seven the previous year.

“Funds that come into the business actually go back into the community and help build our local infrastructure, including local technicians and local suppliers, who also benefit from these projects,” says Damien Barry, general counsel at Louisbourg. Seafoods.

Benefits include increased wages for workers and an extended production season of an additional three months – a boon for a company in a predominantly seasonal industry – allowing for more sustainable employment opportunities for local workers.

“Programs like the Innovation Rebate give us direction and allow us to plan for the medium to long term,” says Barry. “Knowing that if we do it right, we will have the ability to access additional funds helps us to reinvest more in the future.”


Based on the return on investment, Louisbourg Seafoods believes this type of financing is critical to the company’s long-term planning objectives.

“We determined the difference between what we ‘need’ and what would be ‘nice to have’ and created a three-year plan that promises 15 years of increased efficiency,” says Allan MacLean, Senior Director of Operations at Louisbourg Seafoods.

Loud and bustling, the Louisbourg Seafoods head office is now implementing a large-scale, company-wide strategy to modernize production – stepping up technological innovation in its plants, enabling the company to streamline production and compete internationally.

MacLean says these upgrades integrate with pre-existing technology and anticipate future needs.


In March 2022, the provincial government made the Innovation Rebate pilot program a permanent program with annual funding of $12 million to help Nova Scotia businesses thrive.

Investments include new equipment for frozen products and automation along the production line, which have increased product yield.
Investments include new equipment for frozen products and automation along the production line, which have increased product yield.

“The now permanent Innovation Rebate Program through NSBI will help more Nova Scotia businesses adopt new technologies and innovative solutions and help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and become more sustainable and competitive,” said Laurel Broten, President and CEO of NSBI. “The program encourages investment in innovative processes and green technologies. Participating companies can increase their competitiveness through product development, improved production and greening of waste streams.

For Louisbourg Seafoods, a crucial future step for the company will be to digitize its primarily paper-based operations in order to achieve greater productivity and sustainability. Ongoing upgrades will also include additional heat pumps and energy efficiency measures.

NSBI staff from Broten and Cape Breton recently visited Louisbourg Seafoods as well as businesses and partners in Sydney and West Island communities. NSBI publicizes programs like the now permanent Innovation Rebate.

“In all the meetings, I observed that business people are pursuing their projects, their plans and making progress,” says Broten. NSBI can help and every time my team and I hear from customers and partners, we get new insights and new connectivity – it helps make everything stronger and we come up with new solutions.

To learn more, businesses should speak with an NSBI Regional Business Development Advisor. Get more information at novascotiabusiness.com/contact/regional-team.

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Tanya S. Norvell