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NL Government: Modernized Aquaculture Policy and Procedures Established to Meet Needs of Growing Industry
September 25, 2019
The Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources, today announced the release of modernized aquaculture policies and procedures, including updated policies that set the stage for effectively managing our growing industry to become a world leader in environmentally sustainable aquaculture development. Minister Byrne announced the release during the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association’s 2019 Cold Harvest conference, taking place this week in St. John’s.
Feedback to inform the policy updates came from a recent public consultation process that engaged industry stakeholders, Indigenous Governments and Organizations, and the public. This process brought forward concerns related to the aquaculture sector, including disease, waste management, potential impact on wild fish and habitat, and increased standards for auditing and inspections.
Highlights of the updates include:
- Policies that focus on industry accountability, environmental stewardship, and best practices that adhere to, or exceed, industry standards;
- A strong, public reporting policy that enhances industry accountability and public trust;
- Clearer expectations around the selling and buying of licenses and sub-leasing processes; and
- Security bonding for any environmental remediation resulting from aquaculture activity.
Aquatic animal health measures to mitigate disease have also been adopted, including:
- Requirement for licensees to have a detailed fish health management plan;
- Net washing procedures to ensure full sanitization of nets; species and site separation;
- Finfish and shellfish surveillance measures to ensure regular and publicly reportable diagnostic testing; and
- Biosecurity auditing of aquaculture facilities, sites and activities to ensure world-class biosecurity standards are maintained.
More stringent standards will also be adopted for public communication by aquaculture companies regarding escape and disease events, and compliance.
These changes guarantee open, transparent, accountable and biosecure environmental stewardship, with established, clear processes and expectations that support social license and sustainability.
The policy and procedure review for aquaculture are part of the Provincial Government’s commitment outlined in The Way Forward on Aquaculture Sector Work Plan. These initiatives will support aquaculture sector growth and food self-sufficiency targets in meeting potential growth targets of 50,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon and 10,750 tonnes of blue mussels annually.
“Newfoundland and Labrador continues to hold its own as a world-class leader in aquaculture health and production. Our position on the world stage has been strengthened as a result of definitive, constructive and positive feedback from all stakeholders, resulting in enhanced policies and regulations that have been modernized to meet the needs of our growing industry. Public trust and confidence are central to successful food production in the world marketplace – our robust policies and regulations are recognized by industry not as inhibitors, but as key to ensuring the ongoing success this industry can achieve.”
Honourable Gerry Byrne
Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources
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Fisheries and Land Resources
Information on Newfoundland and Labrador’s Seafood Industry
Newfoundland and Labrador’s seafood sector – worth $1.3 billion in 2018 – makes a substantial contribution to the provincial economy. Of that total market value, aquaculture represents almost 16 per cent – $204 million.
The seafood industry in this province employs more than 16,000 people from over 400 communities, including more than 400 women and men working in aquaculture grow-out and hatchery jobs.
In addition to direct employment opportunities, the aquaculture sector is providing indirect employment through supply and service companies, academic institutions, research and development, and other key areas. These opportunities allow people to make viable career choices that enable them to stay in Newfoundland and Labrador.
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