Fisheries and Aquaculture
March 20, 2008

Province to Explore Aquaculture Challenges, Business Opportunities and Best Practices in Southern Chile

To further the tremendous growth of aquaculture in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Honourable Tom Rideout, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, will travel next week to Puerto Montt, in Southern Chile, to explore the Chilean aquaculture industry.

A key priority during the visit will be to assess the challenges currently facing the Chilean aquaculture sector in terms of fish health and environmental sustainability. The visit will also include a look at best practices within that country�s aquaculture industry and an evaluation of business opportunities that might exist with Chilean companies.

"The Chilean aquaculture industry is unique in that it is one of the most successful in the world but at the same time has faced very serious challenges," said Minister Rideout. "Therefore, not only can we benefit from its successes, we also have the opportunity to learn from that country�s unfortunate experiences as it relates to fish health so that our province can avoid these problems within our own sector."

Minister Rideout and other provincial officials are travelling to Chile as part of a Canadian Ministerial Trade Mission. Participating in the mission are 29 individuals, including ministers and officials from the Governments of Canada, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and British Columbia.

The ministerial mission will coincide with an Atlantic Canada Trade Mission involving the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA) and other non-government organizations. This mission will include 17 organizations, a significant portion of which are from Newfoundland and Labrador.

Chile is currently the second largest producer and exporter of aquaculture products in the world. It is exceeded only by Norway. At present time, the Chilean aquaculture sector is struggling to address Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA), which is having a very detrimental impact on the industry in terms of output and value.

"The Newfoundland and Labrador aquaculture industry has recently entered into a new era of bio-security," continued Minister Rideout. "Environmental sustainability and fish health protocols are top priorities for government and for industry participants, and these demands are increasing dramatically given the industry�s current rate of expansion. As we are only beginning to develop the provincial aquaculture sector, we must take advantage of the opportunities to benefit from the experiences of other jurisdictions, particularly as it relates to the very crucial issue of fish health."

While in Chile, the minister will attend Aqua Sur 2008, the largest aquaculture trade show in the southern hemisphere. Eight Canadian companies will be exhibiting at Aqua Sur. He will also visit numerous salmon and mussel farms, will attend a roundtable on aquaculture issues with Chilean stakeholders, will hold meetings with Chilean ministers and will visit various research and development centres.

The aquaculture industry in Newfoundland and Labrador is enjoying tremendous growth. Since 2003, the production and value of the industry have more than doubled. This is in response to unprecedented government investment, including the establishment of an Aquaculture Working Loan Guarantee Program in 2005, a tripling of funding for aquaculture in 2006, and in excess of $14 million for aquaculture in 2007. This included funding for a $4.3 million Aquatic Veterinary Diagnostic Facility in St. Alban�s.


Media contact:

Lori Lee Oates
Director of Communications
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
709-729-3733, 690-8403

2008 03 20                                                    11:30 a.m.

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