Federal, Provincial and Territorial Fisheries Ministers are committed to working together to ensure that fisheries and aquaculture sectors thrive and remain sustainable and healthy, providing meaningful employment and economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.
The Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) met in Whitehorse, Yukon over the last two days to discuss a broad range of common priorities. The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Honourable Pauline Frost, Yukon Minister of Environment co-chaired the meeting attended by their counterparts from the Northwest Territories, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Quebec. British Columbia, Nunavut, Manitoba and Ontario were represented by a senior government official.
Canada exported a record $6.6 billion in fish and seafood products in 2016. Sixty-five percent of Canada's exports, by value, go to the U.S. annually for a total of $4.3 billion in 2016. The CCFAM will continue its important work to ensure a focus on economic development to help members create and expand markets and develop trade opportunities in several sectors.
CCFAM members discussed the review of the Federal Fisheries Act and are pleased that there has been an opportunity to participate in the process so far. Fisheries and Oceans Canada's phase 1 consultations have been completed and phase 2 will be held this summer.
All jurisdictions agreed on the importance of marine conservation and emphasized the importance of governments engaging with Indigenous groups and stakeholders during the planning and development of marine protection initiatives.
The ministers agreed to work together to develop a comprehensive aquaculture policy this year, which respects jurisdictional differences, with a view to creating clarity and certainty and restated their shared objective of producing safe and sustainable seafood with a direct benefit to Canada's economy.
Aquatic invasive species have had significant impacts on certain fish stocks native to Canada and cost billions of dollars every year due to lost income and tourism revenue. CCFAM members are determined to work cooperatively to combat this threat to Canadian waterways and ecosystems.
The meeting ended with the Ministers agreeing to join forces to advance common CCFAM priorities in the coming year. They thanked organizers for the excellent meeting and their warm welcome to beautiful Yukon.
As part of his remarks, Minister LeBlanc announced the Government of Canada is investing $30 million in a National Market Access and Development Initiative to support and drive innovation in the fish and seafood industry in partnership with the provinces and territories. CCFAM members expressed their support for the initiative.
"My provincial and territorial colleagues and I are committed to working together to maintain and expand markets for Canada's excellent fish and seafood products to create more jobs and economic opportunities across the country. Making sure our fisheries continue to be sustainable and our oceans, coasts and waterways remain healthy in the present and the future is a top priority."
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
"I would like to thank all of my national, provincial and territorial colleagues in fisheries and aquaculture for attending this conference in Whitehorse and sharing their perspectives from all across the country. I appreciate our ability to have open conversations about what works best to ensure healthy fish and aquatic ecosystems are sustainable now and for future generations."
The Honourable Pauline Frost
Minister of Environment, Government of Yukon