Canadian officials show support for industry at Seafood Expo North America

Canadian officials at the Canadian pavilion during Seafood Expo North America
An assembly of Canadian federal and provincial officials attended Seafood Expo North America to promote the country's seafood industry | Photo by Chris Chase/SeafoodSource
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Federal and provincial officials with the Canadian government assembled at the 2024 Seafood Expo North America (SENA) on 10 March to show support for the country's seafood industry.

At an opening ceremony in the Canadian pavilion of the show, Consulate General of Canada in Boston Bernadette Jordan – a former Canadian minister of fisheries – led a group of current ministers and Canadian premiers in welcoming the seafood industry and emphasizing the importance of seafood to Canada. 

Canadian officials appearing at SENA included current Minister of Fisheries Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Gudie Hutchings, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, and more.

“We’re here to remind everybody Canadian seafood is the best in the world,” Higgs said.

MacAulay told SeafoodSource during the opening event that Canada’s seafood exports continue to grow and that the government needs to support the industry, especially as seafood gradually comprises a larger part of the country’s overall food exports. 

“[Seafood is] working up to 10 percent of the total exports in [Canada's] agriculture and agrifood industry, so it’s a big deal on the east coast, west coast, and in the Great Lakes,” MacAulay said. 

MacAulay also said it’s important to promote lobster internationally as a product, and that SENA was the perfect time and the place to do that.

“In North America, if you’re involved in the fishing industry, this is the place to be,” he said.

For the ministers, MacAulay said attending the show and meeting members of the industry provides them with the unique opportunity to promote it in person.

The agriculture and agrifood industry, he said, has a target to surpass CAD 125 billion (USD 927 million, EUR 847 million) in exports and is currently sitting “just under” CAD 100 billion (USD 741 million, EUR 678 million) now. The way to increase that number, MacAulay said, is for government and industry to collaborate.

“You just can’t sit in Ottawa; you have to work with the industry and work together to make things happen,” MacAulay said.

Hutchings told SeafoodSource the seafood industry is important due to the number of people it employs and the places it employs them. 

“It employs over 25,000 people in all parts [of the country] ... in small communities from coast to coast,” she said. “We’re here to showcase our products, learn about all the innovation everywhere else in the world, and be proud Canadians of what we have in the seafood sector.”

Hutchings said supporting the seafood sector is an important mission for the government. 

“We know how important the sector is,” she said.

Lebouthillier said her role as fisheries minister is to ensure the success of the Canadian seafood industry.

“The success of fisheries is the success of Canada,” she said.

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