Canada does not have a national strategy for its fisheries.

It does have an Atlantic Fisheries Policy Framework developed in the 1990’s when “in September 1999, federal, provincial and territorial governments signed the Agreement on Interjurisdictional Cooperation with Respect to Fisheries and Aquaculture. The interjurisdictional agreement commits governments to work together to maintain ecologically sustainable fisheries resources and habitats, and to develop ecologically sustainable and economically viable fisheries and aquaculture industries.”

But, it has not updated since, nor does it include a strategic plan. See https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/reports-rapports/regs/afpr-rppa/framework-cadre-eng.htm.

The world’s appetite for fish and fish products shows no sign of easing up. The State of The World Fishery and Aquaculture Report 2020, shows the significant and growing role of fisheries and aquaculture in providing food, nutrition and employment.

The report based on 2018 data notes “the fisheries and aquaculture sector significantly expanded in the past decades and total production, trade and consumption reached an all-time record in 2018.”

However, it is also noted that “since the early 1990s, most growth in production from the sector as a whole has been from aquaculture, while capture fisheries production has been relatively stable, with some growth essentially concerning inland capture” e.g. rise in global capture fisheries production from 1990 to 2018 at 14 per cent, rise in global aquaculture production from 1990 to 2018 at 527 per cent, and rise in total food fish consumption from 1990 to 2018 at 122 per cent.

However, as a cautionary note from an environmental perspective, the report concludes, “Sustainable aquaculture development and effective fisheries management are critical to maintain these trends. For fisheries, there is growing evidence that when they are properly managed, stocks are consistently above target levels or rebuilding. However, the successes achieved in some countries and regions have not been sufficient to reverse the global trend of overfished stocks.”

My question thus is from available industry and market data on the fisheries and aquaculture, in lieu of ecological fish stock constraints and social considerations, what are our core competencies, comparative advantages and the strategic positioning of our industry we should pursue and implement?

Mark Macneil

Mabou