Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Minister to push for federal support for salmon aquaculture industry (05/09/30)

NB 1280

Sept. 30, 2005

FREDERICTON (CNB) - Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister David Alward will argue strongly for the need for the federal government to come through on their recent announcement of a $20 million investment to assist the New Brunswick salmon aquaculture industry.

Alward will make his argument when he meets with his federal, provincial and territorial counterparts at the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers, Oct. 6 in Saskatoon.

This past July, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced a one-time $20 million investment to provide short-term financial assistance to stabilize the salmon aquaculture industry, which has experienced significant uncompensated losses over the past few years.

"The Province of New Brunswick continues to provide substantial financial support to the industry in the form of loan guarantees, investments in fish health, and research and developments grants. However, salmon farm operators have yet to receive the promised financial assistance from the federal government," Alward said. "Time is of the essence as hundreds of jobs are at stake if operators are not in a position to place juvenile salmon in the water this fall."

The salmon aquaculture industry is an important economic contributor, providing 4,600 direct and indirect jobs in the province, with a wage bill of approximately $47 million.

In order to address the long-term business development requirements of the aquaculture industry, Alward will also argue for the need of a national aquaculture framework agreement at the Saskatoon meeting.

"The framework is a key step towards realizing the potential of the aquaculture industry in New Brunswick as it would provide for the renewal of both the governance and the programming support to the industry," Alward said.

The minister will also participate in discussions for the renewal of the Canada Fisheries Act. He will support federal legislative changes that are within the principles the Province has always defended such as conservation of species, respect of treaty rights, restoration of historically negotiated provincial shares and the need for economic and social viability.

"We look forward to having the opportunity to collectively develop the implementation mechanisms needed in the act to make the principles real at the wharf and processing-plant levels," he said.

05/09/30

MEDIA CONTACT: Alain Bryar, communications, Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture, 506- 444-4218.

05/09/30