Fisheries and Aquaculture
April 12, 2007

Renewing the Newfoundland and Labrador Fishing Industry

Today the federal and provincial governments announced the outcomes of the federal-provincial Fishing Industry Renewal Initiative by introducing measures that will fundamentally change the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery. Following an extensive consultation process, the Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Honourable Tom Rideout, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, announced a number of policy changes and new investments that will strengthen the province�s fishing industry.

"When we started this process in May 2006, we knew that fundamental change was needed. We completed one of the most thorough consultation processes we have ever undertaken, we listened, and we are making changes in fisheries policy that will fundamentally change the way the fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador operates at the same time our government is making significant financial investments in the industry," stated Minister Hearn.

"This announcement is certainly a key one for our fishing industry, as it sets out a new path toward a renewed, self-sustaining fishery for Newfoundland and Labrador," said Minister Rideout. "I am pleased to report that the provincial government is moving forward with a three year investment of $15 million in direct funding, bringing our total renewal undertaking to an estimated $140 million, to address the challenges in the industry."

Elements of the Renewal Strategy will be implemented by the federal and provincial governments according to their jurisdiction; however, the initiatives work together to make the industry more economically viable and internationally competitive.

Federal Initiatives

The federal initiatives, including national policy changes, are:

  • Fleet rationalization through new rules allowing combining of fishing enterprises;
  • Flexibility on vessel size through creation of three new vessel classes (core licence holders currently operating vessels less than 35 feet in length will be permitted to move to vessels up to 39�11"; those operating vessels in the 35 to 65 ft range will be permitted to move to vessels up to 64� 11"; those operating in offshore waters up to 230 miles from shore will be permitted to move to up to 89�11" in length.);
  • Elimination of cubic number (volume) restrictions in the former vessel replacement policy;
  • Conversion of temporary inshore shrimp permits to regular licences;
  • Changes to capital gains measures as announced in the federal budget that will mean potential savings of up to $60 million in provincial and federal taxes over 5 years;
  • Enhancement of the independence of the inshore fleet with measures to eliminate trust agreements;
  • Improving fishers� ability to access financing through traditional lenders, such as banks, by facilitating the use of licences as collateral;
  • A reversal of the decision to collect administration costs for the at-sea-observer program;
  • $19.5M will be invested in fisheries science over the next three years, including $10.5M for research and stock assessment from new funding announced in the recent federal budget; and $9 million to keep the science vessel, the CCGS Wilfred Templeman, in service until the new $75M Canadian Coast Guard offshore science vessel comes on stream in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • "This is about choice. These changes allow those who want to invest in their enterprise an opportunity to grow and enable those who wish to leave the industry an opportunity to leave on their own terms. Today, we have given fishers greater flexibility than ever before in determining their future and the ability to make decisions that allow them to adjust to ever changing market conditions" stated Minister Hearn.

    "Many of the changes announced today are complex and we will work with fishers over the comings months and years to implement the initiatives. This is part of our commitment to an Ocean to Plate approach to management of the fishery and expansion of its economic value."

    Provincial Initiatives

    The provincial initiatives are:

    • A Processing Policy Renewal Strategy that will allow the evolution of the industry to be achieved in a regionally balanced manner;
    • An enhanced fisheries loan guarantee program to facilitate bank financing for those fishers wishing to take advantage of federal licensing policy changes. The maximum loan guarantee will be increased from $1.3 million to $2 million.
    • $3 million to enhance market research and promotion efforts over the next three years, including the creation of a Newfoundland and Labrador Seafood Marketing Council;
    • $6 million for fishing industry research and developmental work over the next three years. This will include work associated with the development of new species, new products, new markets and new techniques to harvest, handle, process and market our marine fish resources;
    • $1.5 million for a voluntary fish auction over three years;
    • $2.5 million for Fishing Industry Workforce Adjustment; and
    • $750,000 for Occupational Health and Safety initiatives over the next three years.

    "These investments demonstrate this government�s clear commitment to the provincial fishery and to rural Newfoundland and Labrador," said Minister Rideout. "While we are putting forward $15 million directly for these renewal initiatives, our government is also funding 40 per cent of the new capital gains measures announced by the federal government, to the tune of an estimated $25 million. In addition, the federal changes to harvesting policy mean that the provincial government is assuming an estimated $100 million in liability under the loan guarantee program. These are very significant commitments and bring our total exposure to $140 million."

    "It is clear that we all envision a rational, self-sustaining and stable industry that can engage and attract younger workers, but at the same time can allow those having a long term attachment to the industry an opportunity to continue their careers to the extent possible over the next five to ten years," continued Minister Rideout. "We feel that the measures announced today will allow us to turn this vision into a reality."

    Ministers Hearn and Rideout also noted that the outcomes of the renewal process include initiatives aimed to strengthen the harvesting, processing and marketing sectors. The ministers acknowledged that the implementation of these measures will form the basis of an integrated "Ocean to Plate" policy framework.



    Media contacts:

    Steve Outhouse
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada

    Internet: //
    Danny Pond
    Communications Specialist
    Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
    Internet: //
    Jan Woodford
    Regional Director, Communications
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    St. John�s


    Internet: //

    2007 05 12 2:20 p.m.


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