Good morning everyone.
I hope everyone had a happy and safe Labour Day week-end... Labour Day does in many ways mark the end of summer....
...But, it also means a fresh start – much like opening up new notebooks and text-books on the first day of school...
It’s a real treat to be here today, with so many familiar faces, to make an important announcement that also means a fresh start for our communities.
Friends, I know I’m speaking to the converted, but recreational fisheries have tremendous social and economic importance to this province and indeed, all of Canada.
Recreational fishing contributes significantly to the Canadian economy, especially in rural areas.
In 2010, for example, angling generated $8.3 billion for local economies.
More than 3.3 million adult anglers participate in recreational fishing activities every year.
The industry also attracts visitors to Canada, with non-resident and foreign anglers making over two million fishing trips within Canada in 2010 – that’s a pretty significant amount of people who obviously contribute to our economy.
Preserving the precious habitat that supports them is imperative, to protect our geographic heritage for the future and to ensure the economic sustainability of our communities.
That is why our Government announced a new National Conservation Plan in May.
The plan provides a coordinated approach to conservation efforts across Canada.
It’s about conserving ecologically sensitive lands and wetlands....
It’s about restoring ecosystems and connecting Canadians to nature...
And ladies and gentlemen, that’s great news for our conservation partners here with us today.
Thank you for joining us and above all, thank you for the tremendous work you do.
Groups like yours make a real difference in protecting and preserving our rich recreational fisheries and their habitat.
I would like to personally express my appreciation to all of the Association volunteers who, not only volunteer their precious free time to help strengthen our fish habitat but also took time away from their day jobs to join us for today’s announcement.
As part of the National Conservation Plan, I’m delighted to share the latest news about the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program.
This program brings together like-minded partners and pools their resources to support the common goal of conserving and protecting Canada’s recreational fisheries.
The partnership approach makes the most of joint resources, allowing results that would not otherwise be possible.... It ensures the sustainability of important fish habitat.
In last year’s federal budget, our Government outlined plans for this new program.
In the initial phases we contributed $10 million over two years to support the efforts of local groups in communities across the country.
With Economic Action Plan 2014, we extended the Partnerships Program to the 2015-16 fiscal year, which brings our total investment to $25 million over three years!
That’s $25 million spent in communities across the country, by organizations just like yours, to protect our geographic heritage for the future.
The funding for projects submitted in the first round provided approximately $6 million for 94 projects to improve recreational fisheries habitat across the country.
This year, as part of the second round, our Government is investing $5.5 million nationally. In Nova Scotia, 6 projects are receiving a combined $287,000.
Here in Pictou County, three groups will receive up to $53,000 to restore important recreational fisheries habitat.
The St. Mary's River Association will receive $23,000 to restore a short section of the West River.
Funding will be used to identify repairs and carry out the work necessary to restore the river habitat.
The Pictou County Rivers Association will receive up to $20,000 for their Salmon Conservation and Stewardship Program.
This project will complete in-stream fish habitat restoration work in 4 streams: Six-Mile Brook, West Branch River John, Upper Barneys River and Marshy Hope Brook.
And finally, the Antigonish Rivers Association will receive up to $10,000 to restore the river bank of the Pomquet River where large amounts of soil and other fine sediments have been eroding into the river.
This has caused a degradation of spawning grounds and the infilling of pools, which are vital to the survival of juvenile Atlantic Salmon.
All three projects are a good reason to celebrate.
As you can see, our Government is committed to the sustainability and ongoing productivity of Canada’s recreational fisheries.
Recreational fishing is an important economic activity that attracts thousands of visitors to Canada and contributes billions of dollars to our economy each year.
We are committed to supporting the individuals and organizations that are working along the shores of Canadian lakes, rivers and streams to protect and restore fishing habitat for future generations.
Let me conclude by thanking you again for your important contribution.
Working together, we are better able to restore habitat for the benefit of our recreational fisheries.
Here in Central Nova and across this great country, we are so proud to be partnering with angling, fishing and conservation groups, likes yours, for this important work.