(St. John’s, NL; 02 Jan. 2014) The provincial aquaculture industry is expected to achieve record-breaking production value two years in a row, as it is projected to generate more than $180 million in 2013. In 2012, the total production value of provincial finfish and shellfish aquaculture exceeded $120 million.

The government release on the production milestone quoted the Hon. Keith Hutchings, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture as saying, “The Provincial Government is very proud of our partnership with the industry, and our efforts to promote the sustainable growth of aquaculture through investments, programming, and regulation. Since 2006, we have provided more than $25 million to foster the success of the industry, which has helped double the number of finfish sites in the province, helped mussel production reach unprecedented volumes, and created employment for approximately 1,000 people in rural communities.”

As part of efforts to continue the success of the industry, the Provincial Government held aquaculture consultations in November and December to update the Provincial Government’s strategic plan for aquaculture. In the course of the consultation process, the province received just under 40 written submissions from interested parties. They also received feedback from industry participants, academics, government representatives, and representatives from non-governmental organizations at sessions held throughout the province. All feedback will be presented in a public “What We Heard” document to be released in 2014.

In a prepared statement for the government release, Cyr Couturier, executive director of the NAIA said, “Seafood produced by the provincial aquaculture industry is of the highest quality, and our province continues to gain recognition as a fine purveyor of responsibly-farmed products. Like all food production activities, we have had challenges to overcome, but our industry has made substantial gains, and the support of the Provincial Government puts us in a great position to continue generating economic benefits in rural areas in the years to come.”

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Media contacts:

Jason Card, Director of Communications, Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, 709-729-3733, 699-0470; jasoncard@gov.nl.ca     

Cyr Couturier, Executive Director, Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association, 709-754-2854; cyr@naia.ca