Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

November 23, 2007 18:21 ET

Atlantic Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers Tackle Economic Challenges Facing the Fishery

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 23, 2007) - The strong Canadian dollar, rising fuel costs and global competition are only a few of the economic challenges facing the Atlantic fisheries and aquaculture industries - a sector based in 1,200 coastal communities, employing almost 67,000 people with an export value of $2.96 billion. The Atlantic Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (ACFAM) met in Ottawa today to tackle these challenges and take action on other important matters facing the fishery in Eastern Canada.

"It is by working together, at venues like this, that we will better address the new and emerging challenges facing this important economic sector," said Loyola Hearn, federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and co-chair of the meeting.

"The Prince Edward Island fisheries and aquaculture industry makes a significant contribution to the provincial economy and our goal is to increase that in the years ahead," said Allan Campbell, Prince Edward Island Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister and co-chair of the meeting. "We must work together with our federal and provincial colleagues to advance the issues and opportunities in the fishery. We must also ensure that our communication lines are fully open with fishers, aquaculturalists and processors."

Ministers noted the importance of taking a more integrated approach to managing the fishery sector that includes all the players in the seafood value chain, particularly harvesters and processors. They agreed to pursue this integrated approach through what is being referred to as the Oceans-to-Plate approach. They discussed at length the importance of looking at the industry through the lens of economic viability, and considered related recommendations from provincial summits and other efforts.

Ministers agreed to continue to work together on these issues and tasked officials to identify the common elements arising from the summits and bring forward options to improve the value of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors for Ministers to consider.

Recognizing that an Atlantic approach to marketing would complement provincial and territorial efforts, Ministers established a federal-provincial-territorial working group to be lead by Quebec. This working group was tasked with exploring opportunities for strategic marketing of seafood products, analyzing international market trends, improving coordination between marketing efforts and harvesters and accessing additional funding for marketing from other sources. The working group will present its recommendations to Ministers at the next ACFAM meeting in early 2008 in Nova Scotia.

Ministers highlighted the tremendous potential of aquaculture and are committed to doing their part in order to enable the Canadian aquaculture industry to realize its full potential. To achieve this, they recognize the need to harmonize the regulatory framework and improve the site application process, while protecting the environment and fish stocks. It was agreed to continue with national efforts to develop programming proposals for a coordinated governance and regulatory framework for the industry and related research, development, commercialization, infrastructure and stewardship.

"I believe the time is right for those of us at the federal and provincial level to harmonize our regulations and resolve other outstanding issues, like site selection, for the good of the industry," said Minister Hearn.

It became clear throughout the day that to have a healthy fishery there is a need for strong, collaborative governance, where all stakeholders have a say in their future and where all players work together. It is in this spirit and to ensure the viability and sustainability of the industry that all Ministers reiterated their strong support for the Federal Minister to table in Parliament as soon as possible a new and modernized Fisheries Act.

The Minister from Nunavut acknowledged the emphasis placed on Canada's north in the recent federal Speech from the Throne. He highlighted the economic potential and unique developmental requirements of Canada's northern fisheries.

The ACFAM is made up of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers from the Atlantic Provinces, Quebec, Nunavut and the federal government. These Ministers meet regularly to discuss and work on fisheries and aquaculture issues of particular interest to Eastern Canada.

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Phil Jenkins
    Media Relations
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Office of the Minister
    Steve Outhouse
    Director of Communications
    Government of Prince Edward Island
    Office of Minister Cambpell
    Wayne MacKinnon