(Gander, NL: February 14, 2014) Enhancing biosecurity, pursuing best practices, and continually improving the overall approach to provincial aquaculture were the key themes discussed by the Honourable Keith Hutchings, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, yesterday at the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association Annual Conference and Trade Show. As part of achieving these goals, Minister Hutchings announced a $2 million contribution to help build a new facility for cleaning and repairing nets, and noted a recent contribution of $4.8 million for a newly opened biosecure wharf in Harbour Breton, as well as $200,000 to help the industry undertake a bay management plan.

In the official department news release he is quoted as saying, “This $7 million investment demonstrates the Provincial Government’s commitment to developing an environmentally-friendly, sustainable aquaculture industry that adheres to global best practices. Feedback received during recent aquaculture consultations made it clear that biosecurity was a foremost priority for consultation participants, and so this will be a focus of this government’s future efforts to support aquaculture activity.”

Minister Hutchings also noted that a “What We Heard” document summarizing the feedback received during the aquaculture consultations will be released in the coming days. All feedback received through the consultation process will be used to update the Provincial Government’s aquaculture strategic plan, which will guide future policy and investment decisions aimed at fostering the success of the industry. The updated plan, Vision 2018, will be finalized this year.

In the same release Miranda Pryor, Executive Director, Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association was also quoted: “This year’s theme, Locally Grown, Globally Known, is appropriate, as provincial aquaculture operations increased production, expanded into new markets, and achieved a record-setting production value of $197 million this past year. The ongoing collaboration our membership enjoys with the Provincial Government was key to this success, and we look forward to continued cooperation as we continue building our reputation worldwide.”

The land-based net washing facility will be located in Milltown, and will play a key role in protecting fish health by providing the tools and expertise to ensure that nets are sanitized and in good condition. The biosecure wharf in Harbour Breton is used exclusively by the aquaculture industry to reduce the possibility of cross contamination by other vessels, and the bay management project will help industry players place new sites and schedule fallowing more effectively.

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Media contacts:
Jason Card
Director of Communications
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
709-729-3733, 699-0470

Miranda Pryor
Executive Director
Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association