Atlantic Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (ACFAM)


OTTAWA – The strong Canadian dollar, rising fuel costs and   global competition are only a few of the economic challenges facing the Atlantic   fisheries and aquaculture industries - a sector based in 1,200 coastal   communities, employing almost 67,000 people with an export value of $2.96   billion.  The Atlantic Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (ACFAM)   met in Ottawa today to tackle these challenges and take action on other   important matters facing the fishery in Eastern Canada.

“It is by working together, at venues like this, that we will better address   the new and emerging challenges facing this important economic sector,” said   Loyola Hearn, federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and co-chair of the   meeting. 

"The Prince Edward Island fisheries and aquaculture industry makes a   significant contribution to the provincial economy and our goal is to increase   that in the years ahead," said Allan Campbell, Prince Edward Island Fisheries   and Aquaculture Minister and co-chair of the meeting.  "We must work together   with our federal and provincial colleagues to advance the issues and   opportunities in the fishery. We must also ensure that our communication lines   are fully open with fishers, aquaculturalists and processors."

Ministers noted the importance of taking a more integrated approach to   managing the fishery sector that includes all the players in the seafood value   chain, particularly harvesters and processors.  They agreed to pursue this   integrated approach through what is being referred to as the Oceans-to-Plate   approach. They discussed at length the importance of looking at the industry   through the lens of economic viability, and considered related recommendations   from provincial summits and other efforts. 

Ministers agreed to continue to work together on these issues and tasked   officials to identify the common elements arising from the summits and bring   forward options to improve the value of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors   for Ministers to consider. 

Recognizing that an Atlantic approach to marketing would complement   provincial and territorial efforts, Ministers established a   federal-provincial-territorial working group to be lead by Quebec.  This working   group was tasked with exploring opportunities for strategic marketing of seafood   products, analyzing international market trends, improving coordination between   marketing efforts and harvesters and accessing additional funding for marketing   from other sources. The working group will present its recommendations to   Ministers at the next ACFAM meeting in early 2008 in Nova Scotia. 

Ministers highlighted the tremendous potential of aquaculture and   are committed to doing their part in order to enable the Canadian aquaculture   industry to realize its full potential.  To achieve this, they recognize the   need to harmonize the regulatory framework and improve the site application   process, while protecting the environment and fish stocks.  It was agreed to   continue with national efforts to develop programming proposals for a   coordinated governance and regulatory framework for the industry and related   research, development, commercialization, infrastructure and stewardship.

“I believe the time is right for those of us at the federal and provincial   level to harmonize our regulations and resolve other outstanding issues, like   site selection, for the good of the industry,” said Minister Hearn. 

It became clear throughout the day that to have a healthy fishery there is a   need for strong, collaborative governance, where all stakeholders have a say in   their future and where all players work together.  It is in this spirit and to   ensure the viability and sustainability of the industry that all Ministers   reiterated their strong support for the Federal Minister to table in Parliament   as soon as possible a new and modernized Fisheries Act.

The Minister from Nunavut acknowledged the emphasis placed on Canada's north   in the recent federal Speech from the Throne. He highlighted the economic   potential and unique developmental requirements of Canada's northern   fisheries.

The ACFAM is made up of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers from the Atlantic   Provinces, Quebec, Nunavut and the federal government.  These Ministers meet   regularly to discuss and work on fisheries and aquaculture issues of particular   interest to Eastern Canada. 



           Phil Jenkins
           Media   Relations
           Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Wayne MacKinnon
           Office of Minister Cambpell
           Government of Prince   Edward Island
           (902) 368-4888

Steve Outhouse
           Director of Communications
           Office of the   Minister
           Fisheries and Oceans Canada