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Federal $400 Million Fund to Enhance Canada's Fishing Industry

30 October 2013

CANADA - The Canadian provincial fishery is now ideally positioned to capitalize on unrestricted access to European seafood markets and become more globally competitive with the creation of a C$400 million Federal-Provincial fund to support industry enhancements.

Kathy Dunderdale, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, announced the new 70-30 cost-shared fund, which will play a key role in assuring the success of provincial harvesters and processors as they deliver products to tables in the European Union, and throughout the world.

“This unprecedented level of investment in the provincial fishery will help us achieve previously unimagined economic gains from our renewable fish resources, which will support economic prosperity in rural communities for generations to come,” said Premier Dunderdale.

“The Provincial Government strongly advocated for the beneficial terms achieved through the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union, and through collaboration with the Federal Government, we have now created significant financial resources to take full advantage and continue our success as one of the most vibrant economies in the nation.”

The fund will be used to invest in research and development, new marketing initiatives, fisheries research, and enhancements to provincial fisheries infrastructure, all with the goal of improving the industry’s capacity to compete globally.

“The Provincial Government has long been a partner to industry with respect to supporting innovation, promotional activity, and scientific initiatives, and that relationship puts us in an excellent position to achieve great things with this $400 million fund when CETA comes into force,” said Keith Hutchings, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

“Newfoundland and Labrador already has a strong reputation as one of the finest seafood providers in the world. With this fund we will build on our strengths and extend our reputation and our products to new markets around the world, particularly to those now accessible in Europe.”

Achieving unrestricted access to European Union seafood markets required the Provincial Government to provide an exemption to minimum processing requirements for these markets, a decision which was not entered into lightly. While the Provincial Government and industry agree that the economic gains achieved justify the exemption, minimum processing requirements have played an important role in how the province has maximized value from fish resources. In recognition of the Provincial Government’s decision to forgo its minimum processing requirements for European markets, the Federal Government will provide C$280 million towards a C$400 million fund to significantly enhance the industry’s capacity to compete globally, which will promote economic prosperity for the people and communities of Newfoundland and Labrador. The remaining C$120 million will be provided by the Provincial Government.

“Through these CETA negotiations we have achieved many economic gains for the province, but the positive impacts on our fishing sector will be greatest, as there is now tremendous potential to grow the industry beyond the $1 billion of production value it currently generates annually,” said Charlene Johnson, Minister of Innovation, Business, and Rural Development.

“I want to thank the Honourable Edward Fast, Minister for International Trade, for his role in achieving a tremendous fish and seafood package for Canada, and I look forward to building on our positive relationship in the future.”

More than 19,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians currently employed in the provincial fishing and aquaculture industry, primarily in rural areas of the province, will benefit directly from the new opportunities created with this funding.

“Gaining unrestricted access to European markets leveled the playing field for Newfoundland and Labrador in the European Union,” said Earle McCurdy, President of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers.

“Gaining this funding puts us in position to get established quickly in this market and build a strong brand based on our high quality products. I commend the Provincial and Federal Governments for the significant gains that have been made for the provincial fishery, and look forward to working with government to make sure harvesters and plant workers enjoy the full benefit.”

Approximately 90 processing facilities throughout the province will also be better able to capitalize on opportunities in foreign markets with assistance from this fund.

“Tariff free access to European markets was a game changing development for the industry; gaining access to this fund secures the win,” said Derek Butler, Executive Director of the Association of Seafood Producers. “The Federal and Provincial Governments have collaborated with great success, as evident in both CETA and this fund. We extend our congratulations to both levels of government, and look forward to seizing the opportunities available to us in the days ahead.”

More information about the economic gains achieved for the fishery through the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) is provided in the backgrounders below.

When CETA is implemented, it will immediately save industry roughly C$25 million spent in EU fish and seafood tariffs and establish new opportunities that could add over C$100 million to the sector annually. In the next decade alone, this will add over a billion dollars of value to the fishery.

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