Canadian fish farming 'making headway'

CANADA’S fish farming industry is at last beginning to make headway with politicians starting to appreciate the importance of the industry.
That was the 2015 message from Clare Blackman, president of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, who  told his members: “Did you feel it? The wind shifted and the sail filled. It may be hardly noticeable but we are making headway.
“Our National Strategy for Responsible Aquaculture Development has developed traction in Ottawa. Senators and parliamentarians of every stripe are aligning with us to remove the complex and restrictive web of government policy and regulation that has stalled the growth of Canadian Aquaculture for too long. ”
Mr Blackman  said the CAIA’s documents assessing the regulatory roadblocks to growth, and missed economic and social opportunities, are resonating with the Ministers of Fisheries and Agriculture and their senior officials—as well as within the Senate and House committees.
He continued: “Our case for the creation of a Canadian Aquaculture Act is being embraced as a necessary priority for 2015. The federal government wants us to deliver on the employment and wealth generation we have projected from modest sustainable growth.
Provincially, the National Strategy message is being heard and endorsed by many provinces. We must work to support the removal of regional impediments to growth in BC and elsewhere to realize the needed momentum for growth.
“CAIA’s 2013 report laying out the health benefits of seafood for Canadians was a watershed document engaging consumers in a new and meaningful dialogue. In 2014, our commitment to meet the coming world food shortage has made our message prescient and our work meaningful as never before. Yes, we can feel the positive change and the wind at our back; let’s keep moving forward in 2015.
Meanwhile, Ruth Salmon, the CAIA’s executive director, said building Towards A  National Aquaculture Act 2014 was a momentum building year for responsible aquaculture development in Canada and a National Aquaculture Act.
Through a proactive and comprehensive engagement strategy with key federal and provincial stakeholders, the public policy foundation for a new Act is taking shape and support and understanding for the value of our industry continues to grow across partisan lines.
Highlights of our 2014 CAIA public affairs strategy include:-
• Ongoing working engagement with Federal Minister of Fisheries & Oceans Minister Gail Shea,
Conservative Caucus, the Official Opposition NDP Fisheries Critic and the Liberal Party of
Canada Fisheries Critic.
• The establishment a new federal Multi-Year Licence and User Fee Package for British Columbia – to be
fully implemented early in 2015.
• Action towards an Aquatic Minor Use Minor Species (MUMS) Program.
• Articulating the case for an Aquaculture Act before the House of Commons Standing Committees on
Fisheries, House of Commons Standing Committee on Trade, House of Commons Standing
Committee on Agriculture.
• Engagement with the Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, and their study of
aquaculture in Canada.
• The hosting of a signature non-partisan House of Commons Farmed Seafood Hospitality Event in
Ottawa featuring the finest farmed seafood from across country.
• Responsible aquaculture development opinion pieces in the Hill Times and other daily newspapers
across Canada.