Jan. 30, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - A series of regional consultations with the aquaculture industry will be hosted in February by Agriculture and Aquaculture Minister Ronald Ouellette. The sessions are in preparation for a provincial aquaculture summit planned for April.
"Aquaculture is an important industry in New Brunswick, and has become the cornerstone of the economy in a number of communities," Ouellette said. "The summit will provide a forum for developing a common vision for the future of the industry and its role in assisting the province in achieving self-sufficiency."
The idea of hosting a summit to discuss the future of the aquaculture industry was discussed last summer while meeting with representatives of the industry. The summit will bring together stakeholders from all sectors of the industry, including representatives of the New Brunswick Salmon Growers Association, the New Brunswick Professional Shellfish Growers Association, and the New Brunswick Trout Growers Association, all of which have endorsed this initiative.
Since the various sectors that comprise the aquaculture industry are at different stages of development and maturity, Ouellette will travel around the province in February to meet with the different groups in order to gain a full understanding of the prevalent challenges to be faced.
"The purpose of these sessions is to fine-tune the discussion document that will be made available to participants in advance of the summit, prioritize the areas for discussion, and develop the summit agenda," Ouellette said.
The sessions, which are open to the public, will be held during February in Fredericton, Caraquet, St. George and Bouctouche.
The pre-summit discussion document is available through the Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture's regional offices, or on the department's website.
Farmed salmon is the main product of New Brunswick's aquaculture industry, accounting for 95 per cent of total production. Oyster, mussel, char, and trout production represent the remaining 5 per cent. In 2007, the total production value was estimated to be more than $348 million, with farm-gate revenues of about $278 million.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A schedule of consultation sessions follows. MEDIA CONTACTS: Benoit Locas, communications, Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture, 506-462-5042; Paul Harpelle, communications, Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture, 506- 444-4218.
Schedule of consultation sessions
Tuesday, Feb. 3: Fredericton, Crowne Plaza Lord Beaverbrook Hotel, 1-3 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 10: Caraquet, CCNB campus de la Péninsule acadienne, École des pêches, 1-3 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 17: St. George, St. Marks Anglican Church Hall, 1-3 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 24: Bouctouche, Club de l'âge d'or, 1-3 p.m.