Ministers work together to improve the Atlantic fishing and aquaculture industry

26 Feb 2010

Front row (L-R): The Honourable Sterling Belliveau (NS), The Honourable Gail Shea (Government of Canada), The Honourable Clyde Jackman (NL). Back Row (L-R): The Honourable Daniel Shewchuk (NU), Georges Mamelonet (Parliamentary Assistant to The Honourable Claude Béchard, QC), The Honourable Ron Ouellette (NB), The Honourable Neil LeClair (PEI), The Honourable Rick Doucet (NB).

Federal, provincial and territorial fisheries and aquaculture Ministers concluded the annual meeting of the Atlantic Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (ACFAM) recently with agreement to move forward with concrete action on a broad range of issues, including seal management, Atlantic lobster, and the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program.

The meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Gail Shea, federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture for Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Governments are working together to continue to improve Atlantic fisheries and aquaculture management and support the livelihood of many Atlantic Canadians,” said Minister Shea. “We are collaborating on three major areas of interest and seeing genuine progress on these initiatives.”

At the meeting, Ministers mapped out key priorities and deliverables that will contribute to a sustainable seal industry. They agreed to collaborate on projects such as market development, broadening the array of seal products available for market, and methods to strengthen the professionalism of the industry.

Ministers also discussed issues related to the world economic situation. They expressed concern about the impact on a range of fisheries, some of which may continue to experience market challenges. Consequently, Ministers tasked their officials to work together to improve program coordination and communication with the fishing industry.

In the case of the lobster fishery, Ministers instructed officials to establish a working group to closely monitor the fishery, and to increase coordination among governments on programs to assist this industry.

Ministers agreed to work towards a regionally harmonised fish health program to address important challenges in the finfish aquaculture sector.

The Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program ensures the marketability of safe shellfish for domestic and international markets. Ministers were informed of the results of a review of emergency closure procedures intended to strengthen communications protocols. The success of the updated procedures depends on the participation and collaboration of all levels of government and shellfish processors and harvesters.

“Together, we made great progress on the priorities we need to focus on in the coming years,” said Minister Shea. “I am very pleased with the discussion that took place, and I look forward to the productive collaboration that lies ahead.”

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