Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

March 10, 2005 10:00 ET

DFO: Regan Announces That Atlantic Fisheries Sharing Arrangements Will Be Stabilized


NEWS RELEASE TRANSMITTED BY CCNMatthews

FOR: FISHERIES AND OCEANS CANADA

MARCH 10, 2005 - 10:00 ET

DFO: Regan Announces That Atlantic Fisheries Sharing
Arrangements Will Be Stabilized

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 10, 2005) - The Honourable Geoff
Regan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), today announced his
decision to stabilize existing sharing arrangements in 88 of 98 Atlantic
fisheries. For the remaining ten, DFO will move forward to resolve
outstanding issues and stabilize arrangements for the longer term in
those fisheries as well.

"Today I am announcing that sharing arrangements will be maintained, in
a majority of fisheries, for a period of up to five years where shares
are stable," said Minister Regan. "This will allow resource users to
plan their business operations with even greater stability and
certainty."

This announcement builds on the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans' March
2004 announcement, in which the access and allocation components of most
Atlantic management plans were stabilized for one year. It is also the
next natural step since the March 2004 release of the Atlantic Fisheries
Policy Framework committed to moving towards more stable and durable
access and allocation process.

In making this announcement, the Minister noted that he will respect
co-management arrangements with resource users that provide for future
sharing arrangements and will not preclude further such arrangements.

"I also intend to work with resource users to address outstanding issues
related to sharing arrangements where these continue to be in dispute,
to put them on a more stable and durable footing as well," said Minister
Regan. "This will be accomplished by adopting open and transparent
processes with appropriate criteria, as outlined in the Atlantic
Fisheries Policy Framework."

The Minister noted that he has already taken steps in this direction
with the establishment of the Scotian Shelf Crab Panel, set up to advise
on access and allocation arrangements in that fishery. "I will be
working with user groups and with Provinces and Territories on
establishing these processes," Minister Regan added.

While sharing arrangements are being stabilized in most cases for five
years, this is subject to a number of considerations, including
conservation, the need to be consistent with the constitutional
protection provided to Aboriginal and treaty rights, as well as current
and future agreements with Aboriginal groups.

This announcement relates to sharing arrangements between commercial
fleets - the area of most contention in recent years. The Minister
specifically reserved the option of setting aside small amounts of the
resource for public purposes, such as fleet rationalization (reduction)
and to support co-management arrangements. He also pointed out that the
stabilization of shares would not prohibit an appropriate redefinition
of shares where the health or fishing boundaries of stocks have changed.

"I am serious about change," said Minister Regan. "That could mean
regulatory change, or even amendments to the Fisheries Act, to give us
the tools we need to formalize sharing arrangements, once and for all.
This longer-term stabilization reinforces my commitment to moving
forward with a progressive, coherent and modernized fisheries management
system."

Fisheries Management Renewal is all about ensuring strong, sustainable
fisheries for years to come. It seeks to build on and formalize existing
initiatives that provide resource users with a greater voice in
decision-making by advancing shared stewardship - shared responsibility,
decision-making and accountability - with resource users.

"I want to entrench the principle of co-management throughout Canada's
fisheries and develop a range of measures and incentives to increase
industry's participation throughout the decision-making process," said
Minister Regan.

"Achieving access and allocation stability is the crucial starting point
for improving relationships with industry, other stakeholders and
resource users. Improved relationships will provide for increased
participation of resource users in the conservation, stewardship and
management of their fisheries," said Minister Regan.

A backgrounder listing the existing fisheries being stabilized can be
found on the DFO website at: www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

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Contact Information

  • FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Phil Jenkins
    Manager, Media Relations
    (613) 990-7537
    or
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Office of the Minister
    Brian Underhill
    Director of Communications
    (613) 992-3474
    Internet : www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca