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Minister Addresses Misinformation Regarding Fisheries Issues

20 August 2013

CANADA - Recent news releases issued by MHA Christopher Mitchelmore regarding fishery sustainability and the lobster industry contain inaccuracies that require correction, said Derrick Dalley, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

“Mr Mitchelmore expressed concerns about harvesters discarding fish at sea and stated that the Provincial Government needs to engage the Federal Government on issues related to fishery sustainability, but the Federal Government already has policies that prohibit discarding of most species, and uses a number of additional tools and regulations to prevent high grading and overfishing,” said Derrick Dalley, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

“The Provincial Government maintains regular contact with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans to protect our fishery resources and to suggest otherwise would be incorrect.”

Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province in Canada that independently funds its own fisheries science initiatives through the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research, and C$12 million has been invested since 2010 to support projects that enhance knowledge of the province’s changing ecosystem and promote sustainable practices.

In addition to funding vital research, the Provincial Government has also supported the development of eco-friendly fishing gear through the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program. One example would be the development of trawls that minimise impacts on sea beds.

“Mr Mitchelmore also stated that the Provincial Government has not been active with respect to supporting the Atlantic Lobster industry, but in fact, we are fully engaged in discussions with our provincial counterparts regarding price challenges,” said Minister Dalley.

“The Maritime Provinces experts’ panel on lobster will be consulting with the province and our industry’s views and concerns will be addressed in the panel’s report this fall. In addition, this government is part of the Lobster Task Group under the Atlantic Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers. Mr Mitchelmore’s criticisms were uninformed, and do not reflect our involvement in key issues.”

In addition to its advocacy, the Provincial Government has fostered success in the lobster industry by providing funding to the Lobster Council of Canada to help promote market expansion, and has also provided funds to the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union (FFAW) to support the process of gaining Marine Stewardship Council certification for provincial lobsters.

As well, the Provincial Government joined the Federal Government and the FFAW to introduce the Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Measures Programme, which has supported science and conservation efforts, trap reductions, and an enterprise retirement program to promote the viability of the industry.

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