Minister McIsaac pleased with progress at Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers Meeting

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This week the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers met in St. Andrews, New Brunswick to discuss common priorities across all Canadian jurisdictions including marine conservation, a process to review the Fisheries Act, market access for Canadian fish and seafood, responsible aquaculture development and aquatic invasive species.

“I was pleased to see the progress made at this week’s meetings in New Brunswick. It is a beneficial experience to collaborate with other regions in Canada who are facing the same challenges as we are here in Prince Edward Island,” said Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Alan McIsaac. “It is very interesting to hear how other regions are managing aquaculture development and what they are doing to enhance market access for fish and seafood.”

Ministers re-iterated their commitment to increase collaboration on marine protection and to work together to support Canada’s marine conservation targets of protecting five per cent of marine and coastal areas by 2017 and 10 per cent by 2020.

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 in Canadian waters.

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 a three-year CCFAM Aquaculture Development Strategy. The strategy encourages sustainable aquaculture development, the respect of the environment and the engagement of key stakeholders as they proceed to address these issues.

Ministers discussed the process to review changes to the Fisheries Act announced June 20 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.

Market access for Canada’s fish and seafood was also discussed by CCFAM. Ministers supported a review of federal, provincial and territorial programs that specifically support the seafood sector. The dialogue touched on fish and seafood trade opportunities, as well as recent international efforts by the federal government to promote Canada’s seafood industry (e.g., at key tradeshows).

Innovation and the adoption of clean technology can improve the efficiency and reputation of any sector. Ministers were briefed on the Government of Canada’s Clean Energy Initiative and discussed innovation opportunities in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. As the meeting concluded, Ministers agreed to work together to identify approaches to advance common goals and priorities in coming months.

The landed value of the commercial fishery and aquaculture industry represents an estimated $366 million dollar impact to the provincial economy.

Media contact:
Amber Nicholson
Senior Communications Officer
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

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