March 7, 2012
“Thank you all for joining me today.
“Our government is committed to growing the Canadian economy for the long-term prosperity of our country. We recognize that Canada’s fishery could be a greater contributor to prosperity in Canada and we want to find ways to improve how DFO does business so that we can help fishermen do business.
“Canada has the longest coastline and arguably the best seafood products in the world, but we are time and again being out-performed by smaller countries with shorter coast lines and less access to the resource. During this time of economic uncertainty, we cannot afford to waste this precious resource.
“In the past, the industry could simply rely on the sheer quantity of fish to create economic prosperity, but we know that is no longer the case and better management practices are required.
“We cannot directly control the number of fish in the sea, but I believe that we can find ways to make the fishery more valuable, profitable and respectful of the resource for future generations.
“In my meetings with hundreds of Canadians and groups across the country, I hear one consistent message: CHANGE IS NEEDED.
“The fact is about half of our fishermen are in their 50s or older and our young people are deciding with their feet to get out of the business. It is now our responsibility to find a way to make it better.
“I cannot rely exclusively on government officials to find the answers on how to improve our fishery.
“I am looking to Canadians for their views and I believe this kind of dialogue – tough as it may be – is an important step in the process of exploring options and finding solutions.
“A true discussion about modernization means that we must have the courage to look at everything and hear all arguments. We simply won’t make things better if this becomes an exercise in appeasing one segment of the fishery over another because they made the most noise. Everyone has to do their part and change has to come from within the industry.
“This is an open discussion about how to improve the fishery and I will not shutter the dialogue to exclude some opinions about specific policies.
“What I will do is seek input from Canadians on how to improve this industry for the greater good of our coastal regions and our country, and I will respect the views of the Canadians who work in the fishery every day.
“All Canadians are welcome to provide input on our website about how we can improve our fishery.
“Canada is blessed to have this resource and I believe that we can find a way to improve how it is managed so that future generations can benefit from the fishery in years to come.”
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For more information about Canada's approach to fisheries modernization, visit our Website.
For more information:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada