State of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Nova Scotia

first_imgNova Scotia’s fisheries and aquaculture industries are major contributors to the province’s economy. While the industry faces a set of unique challenges, overall the forecast for this sector is bright. In 2006, the export value of Nova Scotia fish and seafood products was close to $1 billion, with our products exported to more than 86 countries worldwide. We are committed to a sustainable and prosperous industry. This government recognizes the importance of coastal areas and resources to our economy, environment and heritage, and is committed to having a coastal management framework in place by 2009. The first of its kind in Canada, this framework will ensure we have a more co-ordinated and strategic approach to coastal management in Nova Scotia, and requires a balance of economic, social and environmental needs. The Provincial Oceans Network developed this initiative with representatives from 12 departments and agencies. The framework will include a Sustainable Coastal Development Strategy and a first-ever State of the Coast report. We will be engaging Nova Scotians in this process in order to position Nova Scotia as a leader in coastal management. Economic and environmental sustainability along our coast requires us to invest in a new way of doing business, one that takes into account all interests and uses to make good decisions for the prosperity of Nova Scotia. This year marks the second year of the government’s Select Nova Scotia campaign designed to promote local food products here at home. Our government has invested $700,000 in this campaign to date. So far, 10 seafood companies have registered with Select Nova Scotia. Since the campaign began last year, there is rising support for buying local products and an increased perception that Nova Scotia grown food is of higher quality than imported foods. The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture has also developed a trade development strategy that focuses on diversification, branding, coordination of trade roles, strategic alliances, market research and maintaining presence in strategic markets such as the United States, which continues to be our largest export market. In terms of widening our markets, the department is committed to expanding opportunities in the European Union. We continue to explore opportunities in Germany, the Czech Republic, as well as other European countries. We have continued to promote growth of the aquaculture industry. A viable, well-managed aquaculture industry is key to ensuring strong, self-reliant rural and coastal communities for today and the future. Nova Scotia already produces a range of products including salmon, mussels, oysters, halibut, cod, trout, clams, abalone and marine plants. We are home to one of the world’s largest marine plant product manufacturers. Worldwide aquaculture now accounts for 45 per cent of our food fishery. By 2015, that number is expected to exceed 50 per cent. This figure speaks to the importance of the aquaculture industry and the opportunities available for aquaculture in Nova Scotia. The pursuit of aquaculture development in Nova Scotia will continue to be undertaken in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner. My department’s environmental monitoring program actively monitors the environmental performance of aquaculture sites in Nova Scotia and will continue to, when necessary, take action to limit any potential negative effects. My department is also committed to ensuring succession in our inshore fisheries sector. We are working to set up a program to help finance fishing licences for first-time entrants into our inshore fishery sector. Access to capital is a priority for young fishers who want to acquire licences. This new program will help first-time entrants and current licence holders who want to buy licences for new species and access the capital they need to purchases licences. In the past, this has been very difficult as financial institutions have been unwilling to provide the necessary capital since the licences cannot be used as legal collateral by the lender. We are working to get the lending program established and it is expected that the first loans will be available beginning April 1, 2009. Sportfishing season is underway in the province and aside from being the chosen sport for almost 100,000 Nova Scotians, it is the single biggest drawing card to get people involved in outdoor physical activity – which is important from a health perspective. Sales of angling licences in each of the last two years have increased, adding to the economy of the province and resulting in about 6,000 more people enjoying outside, physical activity. This year our Adopt-a-Stream program celebrates its 20th anniversary, with government and industry working together to restore fish habitats across the province. The program involves about 20 organizations each year. In the past 10 years, one million square meters of fish habitat has been restored through this program. Last year we assumed ownership and operation of the Margaree Fish Hatchery, formerly operated by the Aquatic Development Association of Margaree. We are looking forward to integrating it into our operations at Fraser’s Mills and McGowan Lake to continue to support a growing recreational fishery in Nova Scotia. I would like to reiterate that Nova Scotia’s fishing and aquaculture industries are key to our provincial economy and very important to our rural and coastal communities. These sectors provide employment and career opportunities that enable Nova Scotians to work in traditional industries, train in Nova Scotia and live in coastal areas. The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture continues to address the priorities and challenges facing fisheries and aquaculture industries. We will continue our hard work on international competition, the business climate in Nova Scotia, and environmental pressures as we strive to be an active partner and responsive leader in these industries. -30-last_img read more