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Canadians urged to pledge support for seafood sector

CAIA chief executive Tim Kennedy:
CAIA chief executive Tim Kennedy: "We have the means to be a global leader in sustainable seafood production – all we’re missing is the proper support." Photo: CAIA.

The fish farming and wild catch sectors in Canada have launched a nationwide petition aimed at persuading the federal government to put more effort into growing the seafood industry.

Individuals are being asked to “Take the Pledge” by adding their name to the online petition, which calls for the federal government to identify a federal departmental economic champion, develop a sustainable growth plan and develop an integrated programme to advance the sector.

The pledge document states that signatories:

  • Believe seafood – wild and farmed – is a major employment, low carbon, food security and sustainable blue economic opportunity for Canada;
  • Are concerned that Canada continues to fall behind major global producers;
  • Want action to enable Canada to be a global leader in sustainable fish and seafood production.

Revitalising communities

In a joint press release, the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) and the Fisheries Council of Canada (FCC) said they are seeking support from Canadians who agree that seafood has a role to play in providing jobs, growing the national economy and revitalising coastal and Indigenous communities.

By gathering support though pledge signatures, the FCC and CAIA said they will be able to demonstrate to the federal government how important it is to Canadians to restore the country’s place as a global leader in sustainable seafood production.

“Canada has the longest coastline in the world and some of the most plentiful freshwater resources,” said Timothy Kennedy, president and chief executive of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) in a press release.

“We have the means to be a global leader in sustainable seafood production – all we’re missing is the proper support.”

A federal champion

“We are asking Canadians to stand with our national fish and seafood community as we call on the federal government to identify a federal departmental champion, develop a sustainable growth plan and develop an integrated program to advance the sector,” said Paul Lansbergen, president of the Fisheries Council of Canada (FCC).

“If you believe in sustainable seafood development, sign the pledge.”

The fish farming industry in Canada has long campaigned for an Aquaculture Act that would set out rules for the sector and allow it to expand. The current legislation used to regulate the industry is so old that it doesn’t even mention the word aquaculture in it.

Fish farmers have also been alarmed by the treatment of the salmon farming industry in British Columbia, where federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordon has ordered the closure of 19 farms in the Discovery Islands by the end of June 2022. The decision was made despite nine studies by the government’s own scientists concluding that salmon farming posed no more than a minimal threat to wild salmon stocks.