Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers


Whitehorse, Yukon – The Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) met today and renewed their commitment to strengthening partnerships between federal, provincial and territorial governments in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. The meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Peter Jenkins, Yukon Minister of Environment, and the Honourable Geoff Regan, federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

“Canada is such a large country that meetings like the one today are critical if we are to recognize and understand the varying points of view on national, provincial and territorial issues of concern,” said Minister Jenkins. “This will enable us to work more effectively towards achieving our shared goals.”

“I am pleased with the progress our task groups are making on a number of key issues,” said Minister Regan. “Collaboration is essential if we are to successfully address the major challenges facing the fisheries and aquaculture sectors today.”

Ministers received progress reports from task groups on intergovernmental work in the areas of oceans management, aquaculture, aquatic invasive species, freshwater fisheries and recreational fisheries. Ministers also set up a new task group on Species at Risk to deal with aquatic issues as they relate to the implementation of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). This group will develop a national strategy to ensure federal, provincial and territorial governments work together to address key aspects of SARA implementation.

Ministers agreed to take steps to establish a formal federal/provincial/territorial agreement that would lead to closer co-operation in building a world leading sustainable aquaculture industry in Canada. The agreement could cover issues such as roles and responsibilities and cost sharing arrangements for aquaculture programming. More specific issues such as harmonization of site approval processes, monitoring, and reporting were identified as priorities. Ministers also agreed to accelerate efforts to implement the National Aquatic Animal Health Partnership.

The CCFAM Aquatic Invasive Species Task Group submitted: “A Proposal for a Canadian Action Plan to Address the Threat of Aquatic Invasive Species” for approval. The proposal is the aquatic invasive component of the national Invasive Alien Species Strategy. Ministers approved this framework document and directed the task group to develop an implementation plan that outlines the resources and structures necessary to fully implement the action plan.

After the review of groups’ accomplishments, task groups were asked to undertake specific activities to address issues of concern to the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, as well as those of Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

During a discussion on intergovernmental cooperation with respect to issues facing Aboriginal groups, Ministers looked at ways to strengthen intergovernmental cooperation with a view to building stronger relationships with Aboriginal groups. These partnerships would provide for enhanced collaboration on programs and more effective resolution of issues of concern to Aboriginal people. This discussion was especially relevant as today marks the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in the Marshall case.

Progress on implementing DFO’s Environmental Process Modernization Plan, which is designed to strengthen program delivery related to fish habitat protection, was discussed in detail at the Ministers’ meeting. DFO’s priority with the provinces and territories is to develop a more efficient and collaborative approach to reviewing low-risk projects affecting fish habitat and re-allocating resources to the review of major projects affecting sensitive fish habitat. The plan calls for more efficient use of resources, a more transparent and predictable decision-making process, improved management of the environmental assessment process and strengthened partnering arrangements reflecting shared responsibility for the resource.

Ministers talked about the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) meeting, which wrapped up today in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. NAFO Contracting Parties meet annually to discuss the conservation and management of fish stocks that are found in the NAFO Regulatory Area, beyond Canada’s 200-mile limit. Progress was made in the meeting, however challenges remain. The Government of Canada is committed to putting an end to foreign overfishing, and is working hard to achieve this goal.

The CCFAM will gather for its next annual meeting in Saskatchewan in September, 2005.

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Brian Underhill
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
(613) 992-3474

Christiane Parcigneau
Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
(613) 998-1530

Dennis Senger
Manager of Communications
Department of Environment
Government of Yukon
(867) 667-5237