Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (FOPO)

On February 29th, the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (FOPO) met in-camera, deciding to invite the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to appear before the Committee of March 14,2012.

They then resumed the meeting in public at 4:13pm pursuant to the Standing Order 108(2) and the motion adopted by the Committee on October 18th, 2011 to resume the study of closed containment salmon aquaculture.

Witnesses from Port McNeill and the Regional District of Mount Waddington made statements and answered questions. As well, Fin Donnelly (MP for New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody) motioned the following:

”That, because fleet separation and owner operator policy is critical to coastal communities and protecting independent fishers in the inshore fishery, the Committee reaffirms its support for fleet separation and owner operator vessels in the inshore fishery and oppose any move to eliminate this policy”.

On February 27th the Committee featured a witness brought in using video satellite from British Columbia to discuss closed containment aquaculture and regulation within BC. Dr. Roth, the witness, is the aquaculture industry specialist for the BC Ministry of Agriculture and provided the committee with detailed information on the current state of aquaculture legislation in BC and its relationship with DFO. He further provided recommendations on how to best move the aquaculture industry forward, and reiterated comments from previous witnesses regarding the financial hurdles facing closed containment systems.

The committee also debated and passed a motion to release a statement from the committee supporting the sealing industry in Canada. The motion also urges the federal government to continue its efforts to open more international markets for the industry, and the motion requires the statement be read in the House of Commons for potential discussion by other Members of Parliament.