Today I join many of my colleagues, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Canadian Coast Guard employees, and Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada from coast to coast to coast in marking the start of National Indigenous History Month.
We take the duty to consult with Indigenous groups very seriously and the Government of Canada is engaging in meaningful consultation with Indigenous communities and stakeholders to form our policy decisions.
Protecting ocean health is a priority to Canadians and the Government of Canada. We have a collective responsibility to ensure that fish and their habitat are protected for future generations, and we take this responsibility very seriously. This is why earlier this week, we announced the Government of Canada’s approach to enhance the environmental sustainability of the aquaculture sector. This approach includes: a study on the alternative technologies for aquaculture, including land and sea-based closed containment technology, moving towards an area-based approach to aquaculture management, placing greater emphasis on the precautionary principle and creating a single comprehensive set of regulations - the General Aquaculture Regulations.
The Government of Canada is taking a new approach to building confidence in the Canadian aquaculture industry. We are committed to moving forward in a way that protects the environment, the oceans and the fish stocks and that will create thousands of jobs for middle class Canadians.
As Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, I am proud to announce that today in Ilulissat, Greenland, Canada along with 8 other States and the European Union have taken a pivotal step towards oceans management and conservation by signing the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean.
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, confirmed today that the remaining 25 per cent of the 2018 and 2019 Total Allowable Catch (TAC) will be made available to the current licence holder, with a view to identify a new participant for the 2020 Surf Clam fishery. This will allow for the economic benefits to remain in coastal communities while Fisheries and Oceans Canada continues to work to broaden access to this fishery.
The decision to introduce Indigenous participation in the Arctic Surf Clam fishery is consistent with the Government of Canada’s commitment to developing a renewed relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples. Enhancing access to the Arctic Surf Clam fishery broadens the distribution of benefits from this public resource, and is a powerful step toward reconciliation. The benefits of this lucrative fishery—and public resource—can increase the economic well-being of Indigenous communities.
As Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, I’m thrilled to mark this year’s World Oceans Day in the Arctic, which is being celebrated in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, a small Inuvialuit community located on the west coast of Victoria Island.