Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, announced yesterday that Fisheries and Oceans Canada will extend the period of online consultation on modernizing Canada’s fisheries until March 14.
The period of consultation is being extended, the minister explained in a press release, "to encourage further collaboration and to ensure that voices of fish harvesters are heard.
“Our government believes Canada’s fishing industry has the potential to be a greater economic contributor while preserving the integrity of our marine environment. We need a clear strategy to ensure that our fisheries are more stable, prosperous and sustainable.”
It is estimated that 80,000 Canadians make their living or a portion of their living directly from fishing and fishing-related activities. But current practices and regulations, along with a challenging global market, are increasingly restricting the ability of Canada’s fisheries to contribute to Canadian prosperity in a changing economic climate.
“Over the past several months, I have had extensive meetings with Canada’s fishing sector and I hear consistently that the system needs to change,” noted the minister in his official release. “Fishermen want our management system to reflect their business needs. Our role in government is to ensure sustainability of the resource and create a healthy business environment and that is what we intend to achieve.”
Steps to modernize Canada’s fishery have already begun, according to the DFO press release. For instance, the minister explained, work is ongoing to stabilize how quota is allocated, help improve sustainability, and provide for longer-term business planning, and efforts are underway to set a course for further initiatives to modernize Canada’s fishery.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada invites Canadians to visit www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca to find out more about fisheries modernization and to provide their input.
DFO's consultation process towards modernizing the fishery has come under fire from the Fish Food and Allied Workers union in this province.
The union says the consultation meetings that were held in St. John's recently involved mostly processors. The union fears the current owner-operator fleet separation policy, that prevents corporate control of inshore fishing enterprises, is one of the things that may disappear under the restructuring process.