Fisheries Ministers Unified To Support Industry

The fishing and aquaculture industries are a vital part of the province’s economy and an important source of food.

Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell is meeting regularly with the ministers responsible for fisheries and aquaculture in the other Atlantic provinces and Quebec to discuss ways to support the seafood industry during the COVID-19 crisis.

The province announced one measure in support of Nova Scotia’s fishery sector today, March 20, that it is deferring payments and interest for government lending programs until June 30. This includes loans under the Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board.

The five provincial ministers have begun weekly discussions to share ideas and discuss developments and options. Today, the ministers also had a joint call with federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Bernadette Jordan.

“Nova Scotia’s ongoing collaboration with Minister Jordan and the federal government, and our strong working relationship with the other Atlantic provinces and Quebec benefit the commercial fishery in our region. I look forward to our continued co-operation in the future as we gather information from our local industry and hear their concerns during this difficult time coping with COVID-19. By communicating and working closely together and with the federal department, we can better help our fishing industries meet today’s challenges, “said Mr. Colwell.

In their call this week, the ministers discussed the importance of the fishing and aquaculture sector to their individual provinces, the importance of food supply, and their desire to work together with their respective industries to minimize the impact of COVID-19 as much as possible, to ensure people remain safe. They agreed to work collectively with the federal government on ways to lessen impacts.

“The public health measures put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic have created a unique situation with both economic and social consequences for our seafood industry and or coastal communities. Unique solutions will be required, but working together as a region provides an advantage for all of Atlantic Canada’s seafood producers. The health of our citizens is top priority but we are also committed to helping this vital industry remain strong.”
– Prince Edward Island Minister of Fisheries and Communities Jamie Fox

“It is imperative that we work together to support Atlantic Canada’s seafood industry in these difficult times. Our harvesters, aquaculture producers and seafood processors have always been ready to adapt to make sure they maintain their livelihood for current and future generations, and this is no exception. We will continue to focus efforts to support this resilient industry and to ensure it remains a sustainable way of life for rural, coastal and Aboriginal communities.”
– New Brunswick Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Ross Wetmore

“As the pandemic’s impact on the Atlantic region’s seafood sector evolves, I will continue to work in close collaboration with my Atlantic colleagues to secure the necessary strategies and supports that ensure our respective fishing industries correctly respond and ultimately recover.”
– Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources Gerry Byrne

Quick Facts:
— total fish and seafood exports from Nova Scotia were $2.3 billion in 2019, a 13.6 per cent increase over 2018 export earnings
— lobster led the way as Nova Scotia’s most valuable export species in 2019, valued at almost $1.2 billion
— aquaculture delivers new, well-paying, year-round jobs centered in coastal and rural communities within Nova Scotia, where they are needed most
— Nova Scotia’s aquaculture industry was worth more than $88 million and directly employed 519 people in full- and part-time positions in 2018.
Additional Resources:
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture: https://novascotia.ca/fish

Nova Scotia’s International Seafood Brand: https://nsseafood.com

Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus

Government of Canada toll-free information line 1-833-784-4397

Nova Scotia Public Health offices: http://www.nshealth.ca/public-health-offices



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