Northern Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative


Through the NICFI program, funding is available to help Indigenous communities and eligible groups develop sustainable aquaculture operations, hatcheries and support facilities like processing plants designed to receive aquaculture products. This includes costs to expand or upgrade existing aquaculture facilities, for materials required in new and expanded operations, associated costs with entering into an aquaculture business and development activities. The intent of this funding is to support capacity-building, revenue and profit generation, employment generation, and self-sustainability of aquaculture operations.

Each project submitted for NICFI aquaculture development funding must be aligned with the community’s or CFE’s business development plan. It must also support capacity-building and be centered around a sustainable aquaculture activity.

Eligible activities for aquaculture development funding support may include but not limited to:

  • Expansion or upgrades to existing ocean finfish, shellfish, or freshwater/land-based aquaculture facilities where the expansion or upgrades have already been approved under the aquaculture license.
  • Equipment, gear and/or infrastructure for new or expanded aquaculture operations, where the equipment, gear and/or infrastructure.
  • Acquisition of an existing aquaculture operation.
  • Business plan development, feasibility studies (includes technical and management advisory costs).
  • Other start-up costs funded on a one-time basis (administration, salaries and wages for project management/technical advice, training, etc.)

The following activities are not eligible for aquaculture development funding:

  • Working capital projects (subsidizing ongoing operational expenditures).
  • Scientific studies.


Program Flexibilities

The Aquaculture Development component of the NICFI program is proposal driven. It has flexibilities to enable multi-year contribution agreements for projects to be implemented in stages with secured funding. Multi-year agreements may extend from one to five years. 


General Application Requirements

Business Cases - All prospective applicants must work with the Aquaculture Development Officer to develop a business case, which includes all supporting information, prior to submitting their application to the NICFI Program Authority. Note that there is no cost to the applicant for the services provided by the Aquaculture Development Officer.

Financial Details - All applications must include detailed budget information, outlining the complete costs for each project, and the sources of funding expected. Note that each application must include a minimum 10% cash contribution from the applicant to the total project costs.

Letter of Support - All applications must include a letter of support from the authorized representative of the applicant, e.g. Chief, Executive Director, President, Mayor, or Band Council Resolution (BCR), etc., authorizing the submission of an application under NICFI.

Application Deadline – Applications should be submitted to the NICFI Program Authority by November 30. If the program budget has been fully allocated, projects will be considered for the following Fiscal Year. This is a fiscal year managed program which opens April 01 requiring projects to be completed by March 31 each fiscal year.

Eligibility – NICFI Aquaculture Development funding can be accessed by Indigenous groups not eligible for Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (AICFI) or Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (PICFI), or organizations that provide related support services. Indigenous Communities and eligible groups within Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta can apply.


NICFI Down Loadable Applications 


nicfi-ipcin-aquaculture-eng (PDF)

nicfi-ipcin-aquaculture-eng (docx)




All information provided by an applicant in the application and supporting documentation, and all collaboration with the Aquaculture Development Officer, will be held in confidence by the NICFI Program Authority even after projects are approved. The evaluation of applications will also be carried out under strict confidentiality by those involved.


Contact Information

To begin working within the program, please contact Nicholas Huber, the Senior Aquaculture Development Officer for Waubetek Business Development Corporation.


Nicholas Huber
Senior Aquaculture Development Officer
Waubetek Business Development Corporation
6 Rainbow Valley Road, Box 209
Birch Island, ON, P0P 1A0
(C) 519-476-0630
(P) 705-285-4275