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Minister Visits Chile to Strengthen Partnerships in Sustainable Aquaculture

OTTAWA Loyola Hearn, the Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, wrapped up his visit to Aqua Sur 2008 by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Jorge Chocair, Chile's Undersecretary for Fisheries.

Loyola Hearn, the Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

The visit to show in the Puerto Montt, Chile which attracts more than 15,000 participants was to strengthen collaboration and information sharing among like-minded aquaculture producing countries, and identify innovative solutions to common challenges.

"Canada’s and Chile’s aquaculture industries share a tremendous potential for sustainable growth," said Minister Hearn.

"Like Chile, Canada has an ample coastline and a favourable growing climate for both fish and shellfish. We have both developed innovative technologies and benefit from some of the world’s best scientific research. I was very impressed with my experience - aquaculture is a real success story for both countries."

The Canada-Chile MOU will strengthen the two countries’ commitment to sustainable aquaculture development.

Through a joint committee on bilateral cooperation, this agreement commits Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Chile’s Undersecretary for Fisheries to work collaboratively in areas of mutual interest on technical, scientific and economic issues.

"To be successful in the long term, aquaculture must be sustainable and of high quality," said Minister Hearn.

"International co-operation among like-minded and responsible nations is extremely important. I believe there is much Canada and Chile can learn from one another, as we each have best practices to share that can help drive this industry forward."

Minister Hearn was accompanied by his provincial counterparts including Tom Rideout from Newfoundland and Labrador, Allen Campbell from Prince Edward Island, and Ron Chisholm from Nova Scotia, as well as senior federal and provincial government officials from across the country. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency led a delegation representing businesses and industry organizations to establish international contacts and exchange technology and information.

While in Chile, Minister Hearn visited a smoked salmon processing plant using ‘cutting-edge’ technology; toured the Institute for Fisheries Promotion research centre, a non-profit corporation with a public mandate to provide technical and scientific research to support the sustainable development of the fisheries and aquaculture sector; and, visited a salmon farm operation owned by New Brunswick-based Cooke Aquaculture.

The Government of Canada recently announced in Budget 2008 an investment of $22 million over two years to help create the conditions for the Canadian aquaculture industry to succeed and grow in an economic and environmentally sustainable manner. This investment will streamline the regulatory process, strengthen science to create performance-based environmental standards, spur innovation to enhance the sectors competitiveness and productivity, and develop a certification scheme to meet rigorous quality standards in international markets.