Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers’ Meeting


TORONTO, ONTARIO, September 20, 2001 -- The Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM), made up of federal, provincial and territorial ministers, met today in Toronto to discuss progress made over the past year and to establish priorities for the coming year. The meeting was co-chaired by John Snobelen, Minister of Natural Resources for Ontario, and Herb Dhaliwal, federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

"Our fisheries play an important economic and social role in Canada. These annual meetings recognize that role, and ensure that this resource will be managed in a sound and sustainable manner for commercial fisheries and recreational anglers," said Minister Snobelen.

"The work of this Council is key to ensuring the health and productivity of our resources, both marine and freshwater. The progress made today underlines the importance of cooperation and the sharing of ideas to strengthen the fisheries sector in the years ahead," said Minister Dhaliwal. "Although there is always room for improvement, the achievements to date demonstrate our commitment to work together, as outlined in the Agreement on Inter-jurisdictional Co-operation signed in 1999."

All Ministers recognized the need for ongoing efforts to strengthen cooperation and communication among jurisdictions.

The Ministers officially approved the implementation of the National Code of Conduct on Introductions and Transfers of Aquatic Organisms to ensure that decisions to transfer aquatic organisms from one body of water to another are based on consistent and rigourous scientific criteria across Canada. The code recognizes the need for socio-economic analysis as part of the overall decision-making process. Committees will be established in each province and territory and a registry put in place to prepare annual summaries of introductions and transfers. The Code, developed under the leadership of Saskatchewan, is consistent with Canada's commitments under the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity and follows several years of consultation with all provinces and territories as well as industry. CCFAM has directed the task group to review the implementation of the Code over the next 18 months and report back on recommendations for improving the Code.

The Ministers from all provinces and territories except Quebec also agreed on a draft national Freshwater Fisheries Strategy, which has been developed under the leadership of Manitoba and the federal government. The Freshwater Fisheries Strategy aims to strengthen conservation, management, rehabilitation and protection of freshwater fisheries, fish habitat and aquatic ecosystems through improved interjurisdictional cooperation. The Ministers directed the Task Group to consult key stakeholders to confirm the direction set out in the strategy, to identify opportunities to link the strategy to other freshwater initiatives, to develop priorities, and to finalize an implementation plan for approval by CCFAM in 2002. Quebec has its own policies and management tools to achieve similar objectives with respect to freshwater fisheries.

Aquaculture, one of the fastest-growing food-producing industries in the world, was a key item on the Ministers' agenda. Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to making Canada a world leader in sustainable aquaculture and noted that the latest figures show that this industry produced more than 113,000 tonnes of product in 1999, totalling $558 million. They also commended the Task Group for progress made in key areas such as aquatic animal health. Under the lead of Nova Scotia, the aquaculture task group presented a summary of the ongoing work of this group and its plans to continue to support the sustainable development of this promising industry. Over the coming year, the work of the Task Group will focus on the development of a nation-wide aquaculture action plan to strengthen the aquaculture industry in Canada, and to coordinate research and development. Ministers tasked the group to focus its work primarily on improving site access.

Canada's recreational fisheries were also an important topic of discussion. Ontario, which heads this CCFAM Task Group, presented the successes from the group's work. With recreational fishing activities generating more than $7 billion in economic benefits in Canada, the work of this group is focused on enhancing the social, cultural and economic benefits derived from recreational fishing. In particular, the Ministers noted the Task Group's success in coordinating a partnership with the Canadian Sportfish Industry Association to deliver the first National Fishing Week in Canada, held from July 1-8, 2001. A number of jurisdictions also have their own recreational fisheries initiatives. Another success was the launch of the "Sport Fishing Canada" website in June 2001 ( Anyone planning a fishing trip in Canada can now find information for each province and territory at one site. The Task Group will continue to develop the website and National Fishing Week with an increased emphasis on youth initiatives and evaluation of these projects.

The federal government also provided an update on the work of the capacity management task group, outlining some of the progress made toward developing a national plan of action to be delivered to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization before 2005. Industry will be consulted and will have input in the development of the plan. The objective of the plan is to support international initiatives to achieve efficient, equitable and transparent management of fishing capacity worldwide and to establish a record of fishing vessels on the high seas.

Ministers also approved a workplan for the Council for 2001-2002, which includes the creation of a Task Group on oceans. This new group will formalize discussions among jurisdictions, and facilitate progress on oceans initiatives. Through the work of the various CCFAM task groups, intergovernmental cooperation will continue throughout the year.

The 2002 Annual Meeting of the Council will take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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