THE Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) has told the country’s new fisheries minister that it is ready for dramatic expansion.
The alliance welcomed Jonathan Wilkinson to the post after the previous minister, Dominic LeBlanc, was moved to a new job as Intergovernmental Minister of Northern Affairs and Internal Trade in a cabinet reshuffle.
The CAIA said it looked forward to working in partnership with the new man to create jobs and growth.
Timothy Kennedy, executive director of the CAIA, said: ‘Canada’s seafood farmers are already among the most sustainable producers of protein in the world.
‘We have an opportunity to lead the world as we further build upon and expand a highly innovative and responsibly developed aquaculture industry.
‘With the new minister’s leadership, we are confident this moment can be seized.’
The minister holds lead federal responsibility for aquaculture and Canada’s farmed seafood sector, which operates in every part of the country, creating well-paying jobs for thousands of Canadians.
The alliance says that as demand for nutritious and safe seafood outstrips the production capacity of the wild fishery, aquaculture has grown substantially worldwide.
‘Each year, demand grows worldwide by 6.9 per cent to 9.9 per cent. This has led to intense global competition as nations such as Norway, Scotland and New Zealand have expanded their capacity significantly,’ it said.
During this time, Canada’s industry has remained largely unchanged, despite the fact that Canada has by far the largest bio-physical capacity for development.
‘The opportunity to grow and recapture a sizeable portion of global market share is substantial.’
Kennedy said: ‘With a supportive policy and regulatory environment, our industry is ready to expand dramatically, creating new middle class jobs and growing our economy, much of that activity in coastal communities and with indigenous partnership and engagement.’
The alliance also took the opportunity to thank LeBlanc for his dedication and work on behalf of Canada’s farmed seafood sector.
‘Minister LeBlanc recognised the potential of our industry and provided appreciated leadership in fostering a national vision for our sustainable growth,’ said Kennedy. ‘His is a record and approach that we can build upon.’
Picture: New Canadian fisheries minister Jonathan Wilkinson