Canada’s fish and seafood sector is essential to our collective food security and our economy. The Government of Canada recognizes the need to support the hard-working women and men of the industry during this challenging time of COVID-19.
The vast and beautiful Arctic Ocean is Canada’s largest ocean area. Steeped in tradition, it defines northern communities and cultures and is home to diverse and dynamic ecosystems. Today, the Arctic Ocean faces variable and changing conditions largely driven by global human-caused stressors, including climate change. Together with Inuit and Northern partners, the Government of Canada is working to better understand the Arctic Ocean, sea ice and the complex ecosystems they support.
Canada’s fish and seafood sector has proven itself resilient and flexible in response to the unprecedented challenges that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not business as usual and as a government, we recognize this.
Today, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, and her provincial counterparts; André Lamontagne, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for Quebec, Ross Wetmore, Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries for New Brunswick, Gerry Byrne, Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources for Newfoundland and Labrador, Keith Colwell, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and Aquaculture for Nova Scotia, and Jamie Fox, Minister of Fisheries and Communities for Prince Edward Island, issued the following joint statement.
During these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever that we work across all levels of Government to ensure Canadians are safe and local economies are supported. Today, provincial Fisheries and Aquaculture ministers from across Eastern Canada joined me for a call to discuss the rapidly evolving impacts of the COVID-19 on the industry in Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
The COVID-19 situation is fluid and rapidly evolving, and the Government of Canada will be there every step of the way to protect Canadians, support local businesses, and ensure families have the funds needed to weather the storm. In collaboration with our international partners, and based on the best available public health advice, Canada has taken a number of actions to help reduce the health impacts on Canadians. While this is a public health emergency, we know that it is exacting a toll on many people, personally, socially, and economically.
As part of the third and final call for proposals under the Coastal Restoration Fund, more than $13 million in funding was provided for an additional 24 projects to help restore and protect aquatic ecosystems on Canada’s three coasts.
Canadians rely on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to make decisions that support healthy ecosystems and sustainable fisheries management. As we continually seek to increase our understanding of aquatic ecosystems, it is important that we consider a broad range of perspectives.