Fisheries and Aquaculture
June 9, 2008

Provincial Government Continues its Support of
Fast Growing Industry During Aquaculture Week 2008

The provincial aquaculture industry has become one of the cornerstones of the Provincial Government�s plan to create jobs and employment in rural areas of the province. Aquaculture Week 2008 is being held in Newfoundland and Labrador from June 9 to 13 and the province is pleased to continue its support of this very important industry.

"The aquaculture industry has been experiencing rapid growth in response to a very high level of support and investment on the part of the Williams Government since 2003," said the Honourable Trevor Taylor, Acting Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

The Provincial Government introduced the Aquaculture Working Capital Loan Guarantee Initiative in 2004 to facilitate access to working capital for qualified companies to continue their development.

The Williams Government also established the Aquaculture Capital Equity Program which has been used to leverage investment from private companies and the Federal Government. "This funding has enabled us to leverage an estimated $200 million in private sector investment over the past three years, a great deal of which is coming from outside the province," said Minister Taylor.

"The Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA) fully supports the push to expand the salmonid aquaculture sector in southern Newfoundland and the cultured blue mussel sector in such areas as Green Bay, Notre Dame Bay, Placentia Bay and Connaigre Bay," said A. Job Halfyard, President of the NAIA.

"Current production levels for blue mussels of 10 million pounds are viewed as only the beginning of a 40 to 50 million pound industry over the next 10 years, and production in salmonids is anticipated to increase 10 fold by 2012. We are very pleased with the investment being made by the Provincial Government, in cooperation with the Federal Government to solve the issues hindering the expansion of the industry in rural Newfoundland and Labrador such as access to financing, availability of sites and marketing issues which are getting top priority, as they should, if we are to develop to our full potential," said Mr. Halfyard.

The total value of the province�s aquaculture industry has increased from $17 million in 2003 to $40 million in 2007 � more than doubling the value of the industry in four years. During that time, production has increased from 3,900 to 8,300 metric tons.

Aquaculture farms and production facilities in the province employ more than 1,000 people, producing blue mussels, Atlantic salmon and steelhead trout for markets throughout the world. They provide a quality product that is second-to-none.

In Budget 2008, the Provincial Government invested an additional $4 million in the Aquaculture Capital Equity Investment Program, for a total allocation of $13.5 million. A Division of Aquatic Health is also being created within the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture. As well, in the interest of developing a sustainable aquaculture industry, the Provincial Government allocated $500,000 for the development of a strategy to address the infrastructure requirements of the province�s fast-growing aquaculture industry. In Budget 2007, the Provincial Government invested $4.3 million in a new veterinary diagnostic facility in St. Alban�s. The facility is scheduled to be completed in 2009.

"Clearly, this is an industry that holds a great deal of promise for the future while it is already bringing great benefits to rural areas of the province everyday. The pioneers of this industry have worked very hard for a long time to bring it to fruition. In particular, I would like to recognize the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association for their efforts. All those who have worked so tirelessly deserve to be commended for their efforts," said Minister Taylor.

A number of Aquaculture Week events are planned throughout the province. These include the Blue Mussel Showcase, an open house on June 9 and 10 in the Green Bay-Springdale area and, worker appreciation days in St. Alban�s, Harbour Breton and Belleoram on June 12 and 13.


Media contacts:

Lori Lee Oates
Director of Communications
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
709-729-3733, 690-8403
Miranda Pryor
Executive Director
709-754-2854, ext. 1

2008 06 09                                                  9:30 a.m.


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