Published On: Friday, 22 January 2016

Aquaculture a Priority for Federal Government

Aquaculture a Priority for Federal Government
The Canadian aquaculture sector accounts for nearly 50 percent of seafood consumed worldwide. By 2030, it is estimated that demand will exceed supply by 40 million tonnes.

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CANADA - The Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) recently met to exchange views on a broad range of priorities, including marine protected areas, the Fisheries Act, market access for Canadian fish and seafood, and sustainable aquaculture development. The meeting was co-chaired by Hunter Tootoo, Federal Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

“This is an exciting time for federal, provincial and territorial relationships," says Minister Tootoo. "I look forward to working with my counterparts and building partnerships based on collaboration, trust and inclusion, as we work together to fulfill our joint commitment to Canadians. It is my hope to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these partners as well as our Indigenous partners to expand access to global markets and protect Canada’s fisheries and oceans.”

A summary of the topics discussed inlude:

  • Increasing the protection of Canada’s marine and coastal areas.
  • Restoring funding to support federal ocean and freshwater science and monitoring programs.
  • A review of the Fisheries Act, focused on improving protection for fish and fish habitat.
  • Market access for Canada’s fish and seafood exports was also a priority. Talks focused on fish and seafood trade opportunities associated with Canada’s trade agreements.
  • Canada’s access initiatives for Indigenous communities and the sealing industry to market their products to the EU and other markets,
  • Challenges with labour availability in Canada’s fish and seafood sector.
  • Additional sustainable development of the sector done while respecting the environment and commercial, recreational and Indigenous fisheries.
  • The damaging impact of aquatic invasive species on our fisheries, infrastructure, and the environment.

Canada's aquaculture sector:

  • In 2014, Canada exported $4.9 billion of fish and seafood products, an increase of 11 percent from 2013.
  • The European Union (EU) has been the world’s largest importer of fish and seafood. These imports account for 60 percent of total EU fish and seafood consumption.
  • Aquatic invasive species (AIS) have significantly reduced or entirely eliminated certain indigenous fish stocks in Canada. In addition to the environmental damage, invasive species cost billions of dollars every year due to lost revenue, infrastructure damage, and the implementation of control measures.