Atlantic ministers discuss help for fishing industry

HALIFAX: Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell is meeting regularly with the ministers responsible for fisheries and aquaculture in the other Atlantic provinces and Quebec to discuss ways to support the seafood industry during the COVID-19 crisis.

The province announced one measure in support of Nova Scotia’s fishery sector today that it is deferring payments and interest for government lending programs until June 30. This includes loans under the Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board.

The five provincial ministers have begun weekly discussions to share ideas and discuss developments and options. Today, the ministers also had a joint call with federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Bernadette Jordan.

In their call this week, the ministers discussed the importance of the fishing and aquaculture sector to their individual provinces, the importance of food supply, and their desire to work together with their respective industries to minimize the impact of COVID-19 as much as possible, to ensure people remain safe. They agreed to work collectively with Total fish and seafood exports from Nova Scotia were $2.3 billion in 2019, a 13.6 per cent increase over 2018 export earnings. Lobster led the way as Nova Scotia’s most valuable export species in 2019, valued at almost $1.2 billion.

Nova Scotia’s aquaculture industry was worth more than $88 million and directly employed 519 people in full- and part-time positions in 2018.

For more, go to the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture at: https://novascotia.ca/fish.