Canada invests CAD 325 million in Atlantic Coast fisheries, aims for new markets


Aaron Orlowski

Published on
March 13, 2017

The Canadian government is investing CAD 325 million (USD 241 million, EUR 226 million) in the fish and seafood sectors, officials announced Friday, 10 March.

The new money in the Atlantic Fisheries Fund will bolster current collaborations between the Canadian government and Atlantic coast provinces to grow the region’s economy. Officials said the fund will help spur innovation while helping meet global demand for sustainable, high-quality fish and seafood.

An Atlantic Growth Strategy was first announced in July 2016, establishing a government-wide approach to stimulate Atlantic Canada’s economy. Officials aim to use the new Atlantic Fisheries Fund to revive hundreds of coastal and indigenous communities on the Atlantic coast by creating fishing-related jobs for the middle class.

“The world is demanding sustainably sourced, high quality fish and seafood products. The Atlantic Fisheries Fund will drive innovation in this sector, helping Canada meet these demands,” Dominic LeBlanc, minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, said in a press release. “This will boost the economy and increase employment opportunities for middle class Canadians in coastal communities."

In 2015, commercial fishermen on Canada’s Atlantic coast landed CAD 2.8 billion (USD 2.1 billion, EUR 1.9 billion) of fish. The industry employs 58,000 people across the region.

"Our government is committed to working with all partners to make Canada's fish and seafood sector more innovative, productive and sustainable – which means good middle-class jobs for Atlantic Canadians,” LeBlanc said.

The money will be used to encourage new ways of harvesting, processing and delivering both wild-caught and farm-raised fish, while honing branding. Better technology and infrastructure enabled by the fund will improve fish and seafood quality and sustainability, officials said.

Part of the fund will be used to help the Canadian seafood sector grow in existing markets and enter new markets, especially in Asia and Europe.

Details on spending are yet to come, and Canadian government officials will work with the provinces to set those priorities. However, matching contributions from the provinces won’t be required.

The money will also be used to gain a deeper scientific understanding of how changing ocean conditions will impact fish stocks and fishermen. In particular, ocean acidification caused by rising global carbon dioxide emissions threatens the shellfish industry, since larvae struggle to grow in more acidic waters.

Rising ocean temperatures also threaten to disrupt fisheries, resulting in cross-border disputes between countries as fish stocks migrate to new waters.

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