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Canada announces new aquaculture plan, with a suite of initiatives that will ensure that the country’s aquaculture sector is economically successful and environmentally sustainable.

Key initiatives in the new approach include:

  • A study on the alternative technologies for aquaculture, including land and sea-based closed containment technology. This will enable the determination of gaps that limit commercial readiness and help to inform future technology development efforts. The study will be conducted in partnership with Sustainable Development Technology Canada and the Province of British Columbia;
  • Moving towards an area-based approach to aquaculture management – to ensure that environmental, social and economic factors are taken into consideration when identifying potential areas for aquaculture development – including considerations relating to migration pathways for wild salmon;
  • Developing a framework for aquaculture risk management, based on the precautionary approach, which will ensure the sustainable management of aquaculture, and will be the overarching framework for future policies. The government will work with, provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples, stakeholders and the scientific community;
  • Creating a single comprehensive set of regulations, the General Aquaculture Regulations. This will bring more clarity for industry, stakeholders and the Canadian public about how aquaculture is managed for responsible growth in Canada.

These measures will change the way aquaculture is done in Canada – by establishing a more holistic approach to the management of aquaculture, creating more jobs and protecting the environment.

Earlier this year, the Government asked Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer to examine, by leading an expert panel, how to strengthen aquaculture science and how it informs decision-making.

The new initiatives announced follow last week’s meeting of the Canadian Council for Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where Ministers agreed to the development of a federal Aquaculture Act that will enhance sector transparency, facilitate the adoption of best practices and provide greater consistency and certainty for industry.

A statement said “The Government of Canada will continue to work closely with provincial and territorial governments on aquaculture management as we help seek to grow the sector in an environmentally sustainable manner across the country.

“The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Canadians can and will have confidence in the environmental sustainability of the aquaculture sector as they pursue the tremendous economic opportunity that this sector represents.

“Global demand for fish and seafood as a high-protein food source has increased significantly in the last decades. This demand is projected to further increase as the world’s population continues to grow. Combined with unprecedented pressures on many global fish stocks in our oceans, it is clear the world needs aquaculture.

“Canada’s aquaculture industry generates thousands of good middle-class jobs, mostly in coastal, rural and Indigenous communities. The sector provides high quality Canadian products to markets around the world.

“As Canada moves to seize the economic opportunity presented by the aquaculture sector, the Government of Canada, in partnership with provinces and territories, industry, indigenous partners, environmental groups and other stakeholders, must work together to ensure we have an economically viable and environmentally sustainable path forward.”