Joyce Murray appointed as Canada’s new minister of fisheries and oceans

Joyce Murray, a member of Canada’s House of Commons since 2008 representing a riding in Vancouver, British Columbia, has been named Canada’s new minister of fisheries and oceans.

Joyce Murray, a member of Canada’s House of Commons since 2008 representing a riding in Vancouver, British Columbia, has been named Canada’s new minister of fisheries and oceans.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was reelected as prime minister in Canada’s general election on 20 September, but former Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard Bernadette Jordan Bernadette Jordan lost her reelection bid in her local riding in Nova Scotia. Her loss was partially blamed on controversial fisheries policies she pushed for, including a plan to shift aquaculture in British Columbia from in-ocean pens to land-based formats, as well as Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s handling of Indigenous fishing rights in Nova Scotia.

Trudeau announced his selection of Murray for the position, along with the rest of his cabinet, on 26 October. The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance and the Fisheries Council of Canada issued statements soon after congratulating Murray on her appointment.

“The members of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) would like to welcome the Honourable Joyce Murray as the new Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard and express their enthusiasm to work together to realize the opportunities for Canada through sector development,” CAIA said. “According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the global and domestic demand for seafood continues to increase 7 to 10 percent per year. The new government has committed to ensuring that Canada is positioned to succeed in the fast-growing global sector of the blue economy.”

CAIA President and CEO Timothy Kennedy said aquaculture and building up Canada’s “blue economy” is a pathway to combating climate change, achieving food security, reaching Indigenous reconciliation, and creating sustainable jobs. He said his organization will push Murray to create a federal economic champion department; develop a departmental structure to better support economic development; modernize the government’s aquaculture programs; and achieve “stability and confidence in the B.C. salmon-farming sector.”

"With the world’s largest coastline, Canada has perhaps the greatest capacity in the world to develop its seafood farming sector," Kennedy said. "We have the people, innovation, and drive and we look forward to working in partnership with Minister Murray towards achieving the next level of sustainable food production, food security, job creation in rural, coastal, and Indigenous communities, and Indigenous reconciliation."

In its own statement, the Fisheries Council of Canada it hoped to work with Murray to “reclaim Canada’s global reputation as a sustainable seafood powerhouse.”

“Canada is poised on the edge of a seafood opportunity. Demand for seafood has only grown in the last two years as Canadians explored more options for cooking and eating at home. Coupled with the government’s mandate to create a productive and sustainable Blue Economy Strategy, there has never been a better time to realize the potential of our sector,” it said.

FCC President Paul Lansbergen said Murray’s appointment comes “at an exciting time for the sector, one full of possibilities.”

“The Canadian seafood industry has a plan to double the value of Canadian seafood, double the economic benefits and double the domestic consumption of fish and seafood by 2040,” Lansbergen said. “Our industry has the capacity for significant sustainable growth. We just need the right support.”

Photo courtesy of Erikthomascdn/Wikimedia


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