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DFO: Progress on Atlantic Fisheries and Aquaculture Issues Reviewed by Atlantic Council Ministers

CANADA - Ministers from the Atlantic Provinces, Quebec and Nunavut gathered in Ottawa today at a meeting of the Atlantic Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (ACFAM). The meeting was co-chaired by Geoff Regan, federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and Trevor Taylor, Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Transportation, and First Alternate Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Minister Taylor was thanked by his ACFAM colleagues for his contributions as Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

DFO: Progress on Atlantic Fisheries and Aquaculture Issues Reviewed by Atlantic Council Ministers - CANADA - Ministers from the Atlantic Provinces, Quebec and Nunavut gathered in Ottawa today at a meeting of the Atlantic Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (ACFAM). The meeting was co-chaired by Geoff Regan, federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and Trevor Taylor, Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Transportation, and First Alternate Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Minister Taylor was thanked by his ACFAM colleagues for his contributions as Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

"The Atlantic Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers is an important organization to realize a true partnership among the Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Nunavut and the federal government to address both the challenges and opportunities in our fishing and aquaculture industries," Minister Taylor said.

"I am very pleased to have met with my provincial counterparts to advance Atlantic fisheries issues and hold discussions on aquaculture," Minister Regan said. "I would like to reiterate the importance of developing a national Aquaculture Framework Agreement, as agreed to at the recent meeting of the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers."

Ministers agreed that, based on extensive scientific research, aquaculture is being practiced in an environmentally responsible manner in Canada and is generating important benefits for many rural and coastal communities.

Ministers discussed a number of specific issues, including federal-provincial reports on cod rebuilding, the Species at Risk Act and Preserving the Independence of the Inshore Fleet in Canada's Atlantic Fisheries.

In 2003, the federal and provincial governments created three cod rebuilding action teams between Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada-Quebec and Canada-Maritimes, to identify long-term strategies for Atlantic cod rebuilding. Reports prepared by the three teams are now almost complete. These reports will serve as a blueprint for long-term rebuilding actions for Atlantic cod stocks. Ministers today agreed that the reports can be released publicly as soon as they are finalized.

Ministers recognized the social, historical, and economic importance of cod to coastal communities and the need to continue to rebuild cod stocks. They acknowledged the important work of the federal-provincial Cod Action Teams in actively exploring new cod recovery initiatives. Provincial and territorial Ministers emphasized the importance of maximizing opportunities for rebuilding cod stocks through measures developed as part of fisheries management plans.

Ministers supported DFO's proposed approach to dealing with the issue of trust agreements in support of preserving the independence of the inshore fleet. With consultations on approaches to this issue completed, Ministers discussed what has been heard from the provinces, industry, Aboriginal groups, and other interested parties. Feedback from these consultations will be considered in the development of a final action plan, to be presented to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans later this year.

Ministers were given an update on the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Currently 12 aquatic species, including cusk and the three Atlantic cod populations, are being considered for listing under SARA. Although no final listing recommendations have been made by the federal government a decision is expected in the near future.

In addition, Ministers discussed management and policy options related to the crab and shrimp fisheries in light of the resource status and difficult market conditions and directed their officials to form a federal-provincial-territorial task group to address the issues and report back on progress at their next meeting. The development of emerging fisheries in Nunavut was also discussed.

"I'd like to thank my colleagues for an excellent meeting today, and for their continued dedication to strong, healthy Atlantic fisheries and aquaculture industries," Minister Regan said.

Source: CCN Matthews - 15th November 2005

the Fish Site Editor

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