Ministers Move Forward in St. John’s to Develop Canada’s Fisheries Potential

November 12, 2010 11:03

Federal, provincial and territorial fisheries and aquaculture ministers concluded the Ministers' meeting of the Canadian and Atlantic Councils of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM and ACFAM) on 9 November 2010 in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, reports with reference to Fisheries and oceans Canada.

The CCFAM Ministers agreed to focus on collaboration in four key areas: aquaculture; trade; seafood traceability; and aquatic invasive species. ACFAM Ministers agreed to continue to work collaboratively on these same issues as well as on improved seal industry marketing and development, and implementation of the lobster support package, from an industry viability perspective.

The meeting was jointly chaired by the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture for Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Honourable Gail Shea, federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. 

"My colleagues and I have committed to ensuring that Canada maximizes its fisheries potential," said Minister Shea. "I am pleased to be working collaboratively with the provinces and territories on innovative projects that are key to encouraging the development prospects of our coastal communities."

"It was a pleasure to host my colleagues from across the country here in St. John's," said Minister Jackman. "It is important that we have an opportunity to discuss mutually relevant issues, particularly during such a challenging time for the fishing industry. I am sure that our discussions will be beneficial to our respective jurisdictions.We addressed some key issues related to aquaculture development and I am particularly pleased to see that my colleagues agreed to continue their support of the sealing industry and lobster fishery."


At the meeting, Ministers endorsed the National Aquaculture Strategic Action Plan Initiative (NASAPI), which provides a framework for federal, provincial, and territorial governments to work cooperatively to develop Canada's potential in the aquaculture sector in an environmentally responsible way and in a manner that respects the jurisdiction of both orders of government. Ministers recognize the important economic benefits this industry provides to coastal communities. Ministers committed to closer collaboration across jurisdictions, in order to support environmentally responsible growth of the aquaculture industry.

Ministers also directed their officials to continue their important work on addressing international requirements for seafood certification and traceability.

 "Our Government has made progress on trade and traceability issues," said Minister Shea. "Funds committed in the Government of Canada Budget 2010 will allow us to continue to issue catch certificates to Canadian companies seeking to export fish and seafood products to the European Union and other important markets. Our catch certificates attest that Canadian seafood products come from a properly licenced, regulated and reported fishery that is regularly monitored and audited." 

Presenters at the CCFAM meeting included Michael Gardner, President of Gardner-Pinfold Consulting and Dr. Hugh MacIsaac, Chairman of the Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network and professor at the University of Windsor. Mr. Gardner provided an analysis of the various approaches to fisheries management, including their benefits and challenges. Dr. MacIsaac gave insight into the ecological and economic threats posed by aquatic invasive species, and what governments can do to prevent these species from spreading.

Ministers also discussed ACFAM issues of importance for Atlantic Canada, Québec and Nunavut.  At the previous ACFAM meeting in February 2010, Ministers increased coordination among governments on programs to assist the lobster fishery.  Today, they received an update on these federal and provincial programs. Ministers committed to continue to help this fishery and ensure its long-term sustainability and economic prosperity. 

ACFAM Ministers discussed a range of activities underway that will contribute to a sustainable seal industry, including market development, broadening the array of seal products available for market, engaging the sealing industry, and strengthening its professionalization.   

"The Government of Canada is committed to the long-term sustainability and profitability of a humane seal harvest so that it continues to provide economic opportunities for our remote coastal and Northern communities" said Minister Shea. "I am very pleased to report that we are making concrete progress on this matter."

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