ST. ANDREWS, NEW BRUNSWICK — (Marketwired) — 06/22/16 — Over the last two days, the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) met to discuss a broad range of common priorities including marine conservation, a process to review the Fisheries Act, market access for Canadian fish and seafood, responsible aquaculture development and aquatic invasive species. The meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Honourable Rick Doucet, New Brunswick Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries. Attendees included Ministers responsible for fisheries and aquaculture from Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Nunavut, along with representatives from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Northwest Territories and Yukon.
CCFAM members shared their priorities and discussed ways they could work in partnership to advance their goals of economic growth, strengthening global market access for Canadian fish and seafood products, including seals, and protecting Canada’s oceans, coasts, waterways and fisheries.
Ministers reiterated their commitment to increase collaboration on marine protection and to work together to support federal, provincial and territorial marine conservation targets.
Ministers also discussed the damaging impact of aquatic invasive species on infrastructure and on the environment and renewed their commitment to work together to combat aquatic invasive species.
The economic value and potential of Canada’s aquaculture sector was also discussed. Recognizing aquaculture’s potential to create jobs, economic growth and prosperity in remote, rural, coastal and Indigenous communities, the Ministers reviewed and provided further direction on a three-year CCFAM Aquaculture Development Strategy. The strategy promotes strong and environmentally sustainable aquaculture development, responsible growth and the engagement of stakeholders.
Ministers discussed the process to review changes to the Fisheries Act announced on June 20th by the Government of Canada which will restore lost protections to fish and fish habitat and incorporate modern safeguards. Ministers were assured that consultation will be at the core of this review and that views will be sought from the provinces and territories, the public, Indigenous peoples and a range of stakeholders including industry and environmental groups. Ministers agreed that the full range of opinions would be considered, and there will be future opportunities to discuss the way forward.
Market access and continued emphasis on high quality Canadian fish and seafood products was also discussed by CCFAM. Ministers supported the compilation of an inventory of federal, provincial and territorial financing programs that specifically support the fish and seafood sector. The dialogue touched on fish and seafood trade opportunities, as well as recent international efforts by the federal and provincial governments to promote Canada’s fish and seafood industry (e.g., at key tradeshows). Ministers also discussed the Certification and Market Access Program for Seals, which supports the commercial seal harvest and will ensure seal products harvested by Indigenous communities are certified to be sold internationally, including in the European Union.
Ministers were briefed on the Government of Canada’s Clean Energy Initiative and discussed innovation opportunities in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. Innovation and the adoption of clean technology can improve the efficiency and reputation of any sector.
As the meeting concluded, Ministers agreed to work together to identify approaches to advance common goals and priorities in the coming months.
“My provincial and territorial colleagues and I are working together to ensure our oceans and waters are healthy and our fisheries and aquaculture industries are strong and sustainable. It is through this spirit of trust and collaboration that we will make progress on key environmental and fisheries issues that will benefit all Canadians.”
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
“Fisheries and aquaculture are vital components of the New Brunswick economy. Collaboration with other jurisdictions helps us access the best science and most effective practices to help grow our sectors in a sustainable manner and keep them globally competitive. I thank all of the delegates for their diligence and hard work over the last two days, and I hope they enjoyed their visit to St. Andrews.”
The Honourable Rick Doucet, Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries