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New Federal Government Strengthens Partnerships with Provinces and Territories at the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers Meeting
Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers discuss ways to work together to protect Canada’s oceans and expand global market access for fish and seafood
Montreal, Quebec - Thursday, January 21, 2016
Today, the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) met in Montreal to exchange views on a broad range of priorities, including marine protected areas, the Fisheries Act, market access for Canadian fish and seafood, and sustainable aquaculture development. The meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Hunter Tootoo, Federal Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Attendees included Ministers responsible for fisheries from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and Nunavut, along with representatives from Alberta, Manitoba, Yukon and Quebec.
There was a spirit of collaboration and partnership at the first meeting of the Ministers with the new federal government. Ministers shared their priorities and discussed ways to work together to advance their common goals of economic growth, strengthening global market access and protecting Canada’s oceans, coasts, waterways and fisheries.
The Ministers exchanged views on key priorities such as: increasing the proportion of Canada’s marine and coastal areas that are protected, restoring funding to support federal ocean and freshwater science and monitoring programs, and reviewing the Fisheries Act, to improve protection for fish and fish habitat.
Market access for Canada’s fish and seafood exports was also discussed. Talks focused on fish and seafood trade opportunities associated with Canada’s trade agreements. Ministers also discussed Canada’s access initiatives for Indigenous communities and the sealing industry to market their seal products to the EU and other markets. Ministers also discussed challenges with labour availability in Canada’s fish and seafood sector.
Another key discussion was the economic value and potential of Canada’s aquaculture sector. The Ministers recognized that aquaculture represents significant opportunities for employment, economic growth and prosperity in remote, rural, coastal and Indigenous communities across Canada. They acknowledged that further development of the sector can be done in a sustainable manner while respecting the environment and commercial, recreational and Indigenous fisheries.
The Ministers also discussed the damaging impact of aquatic invasive species on our fisheries, infrastructure, and the environment. They acknowledged the importance of working together to explore ways to lessen the impact and reduce the threat of further spread of aquatic invasive species already in Canada.
As the meeting concluded, officials in federal, provincial and territorial governments agreed to work together to identify approaches to advance common goals and priorities in the coming months.
- In 2014, Canada exported $4.9 billion of fish and seafood products, an increase of 11 percent from 2013.
- The European Union (EU) has been the world’s largest importer of fish and seafood. These imports account for 60 percent of total EU fish and seafood consumption.
- Aquaculture accounts for nearly 50 percent of seafood consumed worldwide. By 2030, it is estimated that demand will exceed supply by 40 million tonnes.
- Aquatic invasive species (AIS) have significantly reduced or entirely eliminated certain indigenous fish stocks in Canada. In addition to the environmental damage, invasive species cost billions of dollars every year due to lost revenue, infrastructure damage, and the implementation of control measures.
“This is an exciting time for federal, provincial and territorial relationships. I look forward to working with my counterparts and building partnerships based on collaboration, trust and inclusion, as we work together to fulfill our joint commitment to Canadians. It is my hope to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these partners as well as our Indigenous partners to expand access to global markets and protect Canada’s fisheries and oceans.”
The Honourable Hunter Tootoo, Federal Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
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Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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