There is no relationship more important to the Government of Canada than the one with Indigenous peoples. We are committed to advancing a renewed relationship with Indigenous communities based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership. Canada is working to modernize and strengthen nation-to-nation, government-to-government structures, and through this, to support the First Nations-led development of new economic opportunities, including in the fisheries.
Communities across Canada are supported by small craft harbours that provide the commercial fishing industry with safe and accessible facilities. With approximately 45,000 Canadians employed in this sector, the Government of Canada is making investments to renew its network of small craft harbours and work with municipalities and other stakeholders where investments and divestitures can support local communities.
Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, and Minister of Democratic Institutions and Member of Parliament for Burlington, Karina Gould visited the Canada Centre for Inland Waters and the CCGS Limnos. During the visit, they received updates on a number of DFO science and operational programs conducted at these world class research labs and met many dedicated research scientists working to protect the Great Lakes.
The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson visited this morning the marine science institute (Institut des sciences de la mer)(ISMER) in Rimouski. ISMER Director Ariane Plourde took the opportunity to present their main research projects and to discuss the productive collaborative arrangements between Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists and ISMER scientists, particularly in hydroacoustics, physical oceanography, coastal ecology, fisheries ecology and resource management. In June 2018, the Department and the University of Quebec in Rimouski (UQAR) signed a scientific collaborative arrangement that promotes the implementation of joint projects and the sharing of expertise between Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Maurice Lamontagne Institute and the ISMER. The Minister’s visit ended with a tour, together with students, of Professor Dominique Robert’s laboratory, where he is conducting his work on cod.
Canada has some of the most spectacular coastlines in the world, and our oceans are home to marine life of many kinds. Some of our remarkable marine mammals, including the St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga, North Atlantic Right Whale and Southern Resident Killer Whale, continue to face significant challenges from shipping traffic, underwater noise, marine contaminants, entanglements in fishing gear and other environmental threats.
The fishing industry is integral to the economic and social fabric of hundreds of coastal communities in Atlantic Canada, generating over $2.3 billion a year for the Canadian economy. For generations, many Atlantic Canadians have depended on fishing as a livelihood - it is woven into the hearts of their communities. Since the 1970s, inshore policies have been in place in an effort to make sure that the benefits of the Atlantic and Quebec inshore fishery stay with fish harvesters and their communities.
Coastal communities across Canada are supported by small craft harbours that provide the commercial fishing industry with safe and accessible facilities. With approximately 45,000 Canadians employed in this sector, the Government of Canada is making investments to renew its network of small craft harbours and work with municipalities and other stakeholders where investments and divestitures can support local communities and grow the economy.
The well-being of the endangered North Atlantic right whale population is of great concern to Canadians and its protection is a significant priority for the Government of Canada. We are gravely concerned about the recent North Atlantic right whale deaths and are committed to continuing to enhance our measures to ensure that this species is protected.
Every year, an estimated 26 million tonnes of caught fish is unaccounted for. This illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing threatens the seafood trade, global food security, jobs and livelihoods, safety at sea, and marine life and ecosystems.