Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

October 06, 2005 19:14 ET

DFO: Ministers Evaluate Progress on Fisheries and Aquaculture Issues

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 6, 2005) - Federal, provincial and territorial ministers gathered in Saskatoon today to discuss progress on a number of common and regionally significant fisheries and aquaculture issues.

The annual meeting of the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) was co-chaired by David Forbes, Saskatchewan Minister of the Environment, and Geoff Regan, federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

"This national forum provides a great opportunity to openly discuss the challenges facing both freshwater and marine fisheries management, share new ideas and explore opportunities," Minister Forbes said. "The work of the CCFAM task groups will help to ensure that fisheries and aquaculture are developed in a long-term, sustainable manner."

"I am very pleased by the high level of dedication my colleagues continue to display in finding new and innovative ways to develop and protect our fisheries and oceans for the future," said Minister Regan. "I look forward to our continued collaboration as I am committed to the sustainability of our industry and protection of our resources."

Ministers discussed species at risk and in particular, the results of consultations and analysis of aquatic species that are currently being recommended for SARA listing by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). They also approved a two-year implementation plan to deal with the threat of aquatic invasive species. These species remain a key issue in both inland and coastal systems.

Participants were updated on the National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP) and all agreed to closer intergovernmental coordination of programming. NAAHP protects aquatic resources while contributing to sustainable aquaculture production and competitive seafood trade.

A permanent national coordinating committee was established to develop priorities and oversee the implementation of the Freshwater Fisheries Strategy, to enhance collaborative approaches for addressing issues related to freshwater fisheries. This committee will report progress on a yearly basis to CCFAM Ministers. Ministers recognized the importance of freshwater fish populations to both commercial fisheries and the aquatic ecosystems that support this industry.

Today, Ministers agreed that an Aquaculture Framework Agreement (AFA) is the most important step that governments can take to move this critically important seafood sector forward. Ministers directed their officials to take immediate action.

The AFA is a shared vision for Canadian aquaculture. It would strengthen Canada's competitiveness in the aquaculture sector by clarifying roles and responsibilities, improving regulatory harmonization and advancing policy and program development and coordination across governments while respecting jurisdictions, diversity and priorities.

"This collaborative approach aims to respond to Canadians' expectations regarding aquaculture sustainability and provides industry with the right conditions to succeed and remain a world leader in the environmentally sound production of quality fish and seafood," said Minister Regan.

Ministers agreed that aquaculture is generating important benefits for many rural and coastal communities. Ministers expressed their collective resolve to ensure that Canadians are provided with accurate and credible information about aquaculture products and the sustainability of aquaculture operations.

Ministers reiterated their support for modernization of the Fisheries Act, a top priority for the federal Minister. "Clearly the 137-year old Act needs to be modernized, to deal with the many changes our fisheries face," said Minister Regan. "A revitalized Act would create tools to enable us to continue with co-management and shared stewardship in the fishery - and collaboration with other governments."

The Task Group on Oceans updated Ministers on the work underway to implement Canada's Oceans Action Plan, which addresses integrated approaches to managing the many resources and activities in Canada's three oceans.

The CCFAM will hold its next annual meeting in the fall of 2006.

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Sujata Raisinghani
    Press Secretary, Office of the Minister
    (613) 992-3474
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Sophie Galarneau
    Manager, Media Relations
    (613) 990-7537
    Saskatchewan Environment
    Art Jones
    (306) 787-5796