October 16, 2009
Mill River, PEI -- The Atlantic Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (ACFAM) today reaffirmed the importance of a coordinated response to the growing sustainability trends in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. The meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Gail Shea, federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Honourable Neil LeClair, Prince Edward Island Minister of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development.
In addition to Ministers Shea and LeClair, ministers responsible for fisheries and aquaculture in New Brunswick (Rick Doucet and Ronald Ouellette), Newfoundland and Labrador (Tom Hedderson), Nova Scotia (Sterling Belliveau), Nunavut (Daniel Shewchuk), and the Parliamentary Assistant from Quebec (George Mamelonet) attended the ACFAM meeting.
“Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Nunavut produce some of the most environmentally sustainable seafood in the world, both from fisheries and aquaculture operations. The challenge we face is ensuring that consumers are aware of our achievements and that they have accurate information about the seafood they are buying ” said Minister Shea. “The bluefin tuna fishery in Atlantic Canada is just one example of a highly sustainable fishery that warrants positive attention.”
As part of the dialogue on sustainability issues, Ministers heard from seafood sustainability expert Peter Redmayne, President of the Sea Fare Group and Sea Fare Expositions. Mr. Redmayne provided an overview of the origins of the sustainable seafood movement and the potential next steps for government. He also discussed the challenges and benefits of the various eco-certification and traceability options available to the sector.
"Ministers had an opportunity to review changes in consumer trends that are affecting the industry," said Minister LeClair. "We will continue to work closely with fishers, processors and live shippers to ensure we continue to meet the needs of the marketplace."
Ministers also discussed fish health and management of aquaculture in Canada. They received an update on the Canadian Shellfish and Sanitation Program, a progress report on federal-provincial efforts to support the Atlantic lobster industry through the economic downturn.
The economic value of the sealing industry is significant for Canada’s coastal communities. Ministers reaffirmed their support for the federal government’s World Trade Organization (WTO) challenge of the EU seal ban and committed to continue working together to keep markets open and develop new markets for Canadian seal products. In addition, Ministers considered the growth of the grey seal population and its impact on various fisheries. The Ministers agreed to create a task group on seals to focus on management and market development.
“Fisheries and aquaculture continue to be a significant contributor to Canada’s economy,” said Minister Shea. “While the industry faces a number of challenges, the opportunities for sustainable growth are very encouraging. I look forward to continuing to work with our partners in the provinces and territories and in the industry to ensure the viability of Canada’s fisheries and marine and freshwater aquaculture sectors for generations to come.”
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