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Ministers Determined to Maximise Aquatic Potential

CANADA - Federal, provincial and territorial fisheries and aquaculture ministers concluded the annual meeting of the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) yesterday with a renewed commitment to work together to maximise both the economic potential and the ecosystem health associated with Canada's diverse aquatic resources.

The meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Neil LeClair, Minister of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development for Prince Edward Island, and the Honourable Gail Shea, federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

"Canada's aquatic resources are an intrinsic part of Canada's economy which presents both challenges and opportunities in the current economic climate," said Minister Shea. "My colleagues and I recognize that one of the keys to unlocking the full potential value of these resources is a long-term vision for the industry to maximise the potential of our aquatic resources while maintaining sustainable and productive fisheries."

"This meeting provided an important opportunity for ministers to meet and discuss the many issues facing the fishery and to lay the groundwork for industry to meet emerging trends in fisheries and aquaculture including eco-certification and traceability that are having a huge impact in the industry across Canada," said Minister LeClair. "More importantly, it was a chance to identify actions that must be undertaken in the years to come in order to realize enhanced success and maximising value in the industry."

Discussions were informed by presentations from Iceland University economics professor Ragnar Arnasson and economic consultant Peter Whiting, president of Outspan Group Inc. Both speakers provided expertise and advice on quantifying and maximising the potential of Canada's fisheries and aquaculture industries.

In recognition of its increased contribution to the Canadian seafood sector, Ministers established a new governance structure for federal-provincial-territorial cooperation on marine and freshwater aquaculture. Ministers committed to explore how to best ensure industry has access to best practices in fish health management. They also directed their officials to continue their focus on addressing international requirements for seafood certification and traceability.

"The trade regime has become more complex and challenging and is moving at a quicker pace, involving bilateral, regional and multilateral negotiations. This meeting was an important opportunity to discuss our progress in the areas of aquaculture, eco-certification and traceability, and to identify opportunities to work together to support our industry as they make the necessary long-term shifts to adjust to these new realities," said Minister Shea.

The meeting was also an occasion to mark the 10th anniversary of the Agreement on Interjurisdictional Cooperation with respect to Fisheries and Aquaculture, which was signed by federal, provincial and territorial governments in 1999. Ministers acknowledged the Agreement's role in building and maintaining multilateral collaboration on national issues over the past decade. The Ministers agreed to a review of the Agreement with the goal of improving interjurisdictional cooperation into the future.

the Fish Site Editor

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