CAIA: Public support key to aquaculture growth

The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) is ramping up its efforts to get a national aquaculture act signed into law.

The CAIA recently commissioned a nationwide poll that found an overwhelming majority of Canadians support an national aquaculture act. The group hopes the survey will give politicians the encouragement needed to introduce and pass an act to develop and improve Canada’s aquaculture regulations.

“The objective was to find out what Canadians feel about this kind of initiative. Now when we go to politicians [once the election is over], we’ve got some good information to say that Canadians in general support sustainable development of this industry,” said CAIA Executive Director Ruth Salmon. “A national aquaculture act is going to allow growth to take place and rights and responsibilities of farmers to be identified, provide security, attract investors and lead to new jobs.”

Salmon said the survey results are the kind of information politicians will need before they make any decisions about the development of a national aquaculture act. According to Salmon, the need for such action has industry support, but public opinion was unknown until the poll was conducted.

“Yesterday we released the press release [with the survey results] and contacted a number of targeted candidates [who represent areas where] aquaculture is taking place, including British Columbia, and Atlantic Canada,” said Salmon. “Canadians really want fresh, local and sustainable seafood. Aquaculture fits really well with that consumer trend.

“Currently, all of what we’re regulated under is the Fisheries Act, which was meant to manage wild fisheries and not [aquaculture]. It’s not a good fit,” explained Salmon. “The level of regulation would not be reduced but more streamlined, more coherent and better organized so that there’s no duplication, it’s clear for investors and there is a clear understanding of rights and responsibilities for the industry.

“We don’t have a legal definition of aquaculture,” she added. “The good news is that this survey is showing Canadians recognize the benefits of the industry. Hopefully it’s news that politicians need to help move this industry forward.”


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