Sustainable Aquaculture Program
Evaluation Report

Final Report
October 2012

Evaluation Directorate
Direction générale de l’évaluation


TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACRONYMS


List of acronyms
AIMAP Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program
AMD Aquaculture Management Directorate
AOMD Aquaculture Operations Management Directorate
ASRI Aquaculture Sustainability Reporting Initiative
CCFAM Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers
CSAS Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat
CSR Certification and Sustainability Reporting
DAMC Departmental Aquaculture Management Committee
DAOC Departmental Aquaculture Operations Committee
DFO Fisheries and Oceans Canada
ENGO Environmental Non-Governmental Organization
FAERM Framework for Aquaculture Environmental Risk Management
FTE Full Time Equivalent
ILC Industry Liaison Committee
NASAPI National Aquaculture Strategic Action Plan Initiative
PAA Program Activity Architecture
PARR Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research
POE Pathways of Effect
SAP Sustainable Aquaculture Program
SMC Strategic Management Committee
SOC Strategic Outcome Committee

Executive Summary


Introduction

This report presents the results of an evaluation of the Sustainable Aquaculture Program (Program). The evaluation assessed the Program’s relevance and performance, the latter including effectiveness, efficiency and economy, in accordance with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s Policy on Evaluation (2009). The evaluation covers a four-year period from the Program’s inception in 2008/09 through to 2011/12. Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Evaluation Directorate conducted the evaluation between March and September of 2012.

This is the first evaluation of the Program under the new Policy on Evaluation, and it is inclusive of the National Headquarters and the Newfoundland and Labrador, Gulf, Maritimes, Quebec, Central and Arctic, and Pacific regions.

Program Profile

The federal government furthered its commitment to aquaculture in 2008/09 when it  created the Program. The Program’s mission is to set the conditions for the success of a vibrant and innovative Canadian aquaculture sector that is environmentally,  socially and economically sustainable, as well as internationally competitive, for the benefit of all Canadians. This mission was intended to be achieved through investing in four program elements: Regulatory Reform; the Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research; Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program; and Certification and Sustainability Reporting. Funding in the amount of $70 million for the Program was provided for five years with the understanding that the Department would seek to renew the program as is or with changes as may be appropriate.

Evaluation Methodology

The evaluation used a non-experimental design incorporating a logic model, multiple lines of evidence, and qualitative and quantitative data. The methodologies used for this evaluation included: document and file reviews; interviews, survey, case studies and regional site visits. Within the methodologies employed, there were a few limitations and challenges. None of them was prejudicial to the validity of the evaluation results as strategies were put in place to mitigate these limitations.

Evaluation Findings and Recommendations

Relevance

Aquaculture supplied the world with about 77 million tonnes of fish in 2010, representing 50% of the total food fish supply. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization1 estimates that, by 2030, the global demand for seafood will rise by about 30%, representing a needed production boost of approximately 40 million tonnes.

Given that wild capture fisheries production is unlikely to increase, the growing demand for seafood offers tremendous opportunities for the aquaculture sector. Aquaculture production is expected to surpass 62% of the global seafood supply within 20 years, yet in Canada it currently accounts for about 30% of the total value of fish and seafood production and landings. Aquaculture contributed to the broader Canadian economy with a gross value of more than $2.1 billion in 20092. Canadian aquaculture production provides approximately 14,500 direct, full time equivalent jobs for Canadians3.

The federal government has demonstrated its commitment to the development of the aquaculture industry for more than 25 years. During this time, several initiatives to assist the aquaculture industry have been supported where Fisheries and Oceans Canada has been named as the lead federal department for aquaculture. The Program contributes to developing the conditions for the success of a vibrant and innovative Canadian aquaculture sector that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable, as well as internationally competitive, for the benefit of Canadians. 

The program is aligned with federal responsibilities and the Department’s role and is in line with government priorities. There is a continuing need for the Sustainable Aquaculture Program and each of the four sub-activities as they contribute to setting the conditions for the success of a sustainable Canadian aquaculture industry. 

The original need for Regulatory Reform has not been fully addressed and there is a requirement to continue to carry out activities that contribute to a coordinated regulatory framework across the country.

There is a continuing need for the Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research to support the development and implementation of regulatory requirements and to provide advice for policy development and management decision making and operational support for the Department and other aquaculture regulators.  

The Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activity has made gains in enabling aquaculture operators meet market access requirements. It has achieved a certain measure of success, particularly in the area of certification in the finfish sector. However, it is expected that work is required in the shellfish sector. Furthermore, participation in general is required at some level as the industry evolves, both domestically and internationally.


1 Aquaculture in Canada 2012 � A Report on Aquaculture Sustainability (May 2012)
2 http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/stats/index-eng.htm
3 Aquaculture in Canada 2012 � A Report on Aquaculture Sustainability (May 2012)

Recommendation # 1

It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy modify the level of involvement to reflect successes achieved (certification in the finfish sector), but continue to participate in  the evolving processes for certification regimes and standards, as well as taking the needs of industry (e.g. shellfish) in meeting market access requirements into consideration.

The Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program encouraged private sector investment in the aquaculture industry to support innovative technologies and management practices. Continued effort is needed in this area but modifications to the market access component are required to reflect successes already achieved, particularly in the area of certification of finfish operations, and to adjust to current needs (e.g., shellfish).

Recommendation # 2

It is recommended that the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management modify the level of funding required for the market access component of the AIMAP to reflect the progress made in certification of finfish operators and to meet the evolving needs of industry (e.g. certification of shellfish operators) in meeting market access requirements.

Effectiveness

The evaluation concludes that the program has made some progress in achieving its expected immediate outcomes but has encountered challenges in achieving its intermediate outcomes.

DFO has been successful in engaging stakeholder groups such as representatives from the provinces and territories, other federal government partners, industry and Aboriginal groups. However it has enjoyed limited success in engaging Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations. These groups can impact the success of the Canadian aquaculture industry through their influencing public perception of the sustainability of the aquaculture industry.

Recommendation # 3

It is recommended that the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy continue to build on its successes of engaging all of its stakeholder groups on aquaculture issues including improving its processes for engaging groups such as Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations.

The Program has made progress in making information available to stakeholders and partners on aquaculture activities but an area for improvement was noted. The Program shares valuable research, project summaries and regulatory information on its websites. It has also engaged stakeholders in various forums, both domestically and internationally. However in 2012, DFO issued the report “Aquaculture in Canada: A Report on Sustainability”.To release the report, the Department adopted a low profile approach which involved posting it on the DFO web-site and sending a notice to interested parties, identified through the Aquaculture Sustainability Reporting Initiative process. This low profile approach limited the potential reach of the report.

This report is an important tool to demonstrate the sustainability of aquaculture in Canada. To adequately report on this, indicators that measure the performance of key sustainability issues must be developed along with a plan to ensure data consistency and availability from provinces and territories. In addition, a plan must be in place to ensure that the Canadian public is made aware of the existence of the report on sustainability.

Recommendation # 4

It is recommended that the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy develop a strategy to address the key challenges in sustainability reporting, specificially, the development of indicators; data availability and consistency; and reach (dissemmination) of the report.

Progress has been limited in achieving the expected intermediate outcome of an aquaculture industry that is managed through coordinated federal, provincial and territorial regulations, policies, programs and activities. For example, some progress was made on the elaboration of the Framework for Aquaculture Environmental Risk Management, a tool for forming the basis for policy and regulatory implementation. However, further to the decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court (Morton v. British Columbia), the government decided to develop regulations for the management of aquaculture in British Columbia. This resulted in a realignment of priorities for the Department and pre-empted some of the activities that had been intended to be carried out for regulatory reform. This impacted the ability to carry out the planned work under the Regulatory Reform sub-activity as resources were re-directed to the British Columbia regulatory activities. Nevertheless, progress has been made on some activities leading to coordinating and harmonizing some regulatory aspects of aquaculture.

Recommendation # 5

It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy develop a plan that identifies the specific needs to be addressed in order to provide: a coordinated and harmonized regulatory framework; establish priorities; and assign targets and accountabilities to the tasks to be undertaken.

The Department has made progress in positioning the Canadian aquaculture industry to be innovative, competitive and able to meet market access requirements. With support from the Program, the Canadian aquaculture industry has further developed innovative practices and is making progress in being positioned to meet changing market access requirements which contribute to the competitiveness of the industry. Despite the progress that the Program has made, the aquaculture industry has remained relatively stable in terms of production. The Canadian aquaculture production, in terms of harvested tonnage, has not shown any significant growth over the last decade.

There are several constraints that have impacted the Canadian aquaculture industry’s ability to grow. One of these constraints is the absence of a departmental plan that addresses the Department’s responsibilities for aquaculture.

The National Aquaculture Strategic Action Plan Initiative that was developed by the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers sets out a comprehensive strategic vision for the aquaculture sector as well as a series of specific actions needed to achieve it. DFO, as the lead federal department, would enhance its leadership role and demonstrate its commitment to aquaculture by having a plan that addresses its responsibilities for the aquaculture sector. Having a departmental plan in place for aquaculture could contribute to developing social licence and creating a more certain investment climate for the aquaculture industry in Canada.

Recommendation # 6

It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy, in consultation with the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Assistant Deputy Minister of Ecosystems and Oceans Science, develop a plan that addresses the Department’s responsibilities for aquaculture. The plan should be measurable and include targets, timelines and accountabilities, as well as taking resource implications into consideration.

Efficiency and Economy

The Program has been delivered in an efficient and economical manner. However, a number of areas for improvement were identified that would enhance the efficiency of the Program. These include improvements in the areas of governance; planning and priority setting; and performance measurement. 

The Program is organized under three of the Department’s sectors: Program Policy; Ecosystems and Fisheries Management; and Ecosystems and Oceans Science. In 2010, the Aquaculture Management Directorate moved to the newly created Program Policy Sector however its operational aspects moved to the newly formed Ecosystems and Fisheries Management Sector.

During these transitions, there has not be a re-examination to confirm that the lead role for aquaculture should belong in the Program Policy Sector. In addition, the mandates of two key governance committees, the Departmental Aquaculture Management Committee and the Departmental Aquaculture Operations Committee require clarification to reflect the changes to DFO’s organizational structure. In short, the absence of a clear leadership role and of an effective governance structure can lead to deficiencies in areas such as planning, coordination and oversight of program activities.

Recommendation # 7

It is recommended that the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, in consultation with the Assistant Deputy Ministers of Program Policy and Ecosystems and Oceans Science:

  1. re-examine the mandates for the Departmental Aquaculture Operations Committee and the Departmental Aquaculture Management Committee, as well as the need for the Departmental Aquaculture Management Committee to be re-activated to provide a mechanism for discussion of cross-sectoral issues, as well as for planning, prioritization and oversight of program activities; and
  2. confirm whether the Aquaculture Management Directorate, which resides under the Program Policy Sector, will continue as the Departmental lead for the Sustainable Aquaculture Program.

Eligible activities for the Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program were identified at the time it was created. They are reviewed annually with provinces, territories and sector stakeholders. The priority areas identified as eligible activities are:

  • Sustainable Production
  • Species Diversification
  • Green technology

Species Diversification, as an eligible activity, was not appropriately and clearly defined and its continued rationale was questioned by some of the individuals surveyed and interviewed. While some successes were identified for this category of project, concern was expressed about the ability of the Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program to meet the needs in this area. The extended timeframes required for new species development do not fit well with the short term nature of projects funded under this sub-activity.

Recommendation # 8

It is recommended that the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, in consultation with the Assistant Deputy Ministers of Program Policy and of Ecosystems and Oceans Science, re-examine the species diversification component of eligible activities to clearly define the nature and scope of projects that can be undertaken so that they will lead to satisfactory outcomes, within the time period and funding parameters available under the Aquaculture

Innovation and Market Access Program.

Planning and priorities processes are in place for the Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program and the Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research. However, for the Regulatory Reform and Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activities, the process is informal and ad-hoc. Work planning and priority setting exercises are important aspects of delivering a program to ensure that the appropriate activities are approved, completed and reported on at the appropriate time. In the case of Regulatory Reform and Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activities, there was no evidence that this was taking place. The Departmental Aquaculture Management Committee and/or the Departmental Aquaculture Operating Committee could be appropriate mechanisms for facilitating these processes.

Recommendation # 9

It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy and the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management build upon existing processes to put in place a work planning process that includes planning and priority setting processes as well as reporting mechanisms for the Regulatory Reform and Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activities.

A Performance Measurement Strategy had not been finalized or implemented for the Program. This impedes the ability of the Program to monitor the extent to which it is achieving its expected results.

Recommendation # 10

It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy, in consultation with the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Assistant Deputy Minister of Ecosystems and Oceans Science, develop and implement a performance measurement strategy for the Program, should it be renewed. The strategy should identify expected outcomes and establish appropriate performance indicators and targets against which to assess them.

1. Introduction


1.1 Context of the Evaluation

This report presents the results of an evaluation of the Sustainable Aquaculture Program (SAP). The evaluation is in accordance with the Treasury Board of Canada’s Policy on Evaluation, which requires all direct program spending to be evaluated every five years. The evaluation commenced in 2011/12, in accordance with the departmental evaluation plan, and was completed in September 2012. Recommendations stemming from the main findings are formulated to allow for improvements to the program where necessary and to inform future decision-making.

The SAP is depicted on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) 2011-12 Program Activity Architecture (PAA) as a program activity under the Strategic Outcome of “Economically Properous Maritime Sectors and Fisheries”. The SAP has four sub-activities:

  • Regulatory Reform 
  • Certification and Sustainability Reporting (CSR)
  • Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR)
  • Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program (AIMAP)

1.2 Parameters

The evaluation focused on the core issues of relevance and performance, the latter including effectiveness, efficiency and economy, as specified in Treasury Board’s Policy on Evaluation. It assessed whether there is a continuing need for the Sustainable Aquaculture Program and the extent to which the program has achieved its intended outcomes as outlined in the program’s logic model. The evaluation covered the period from 2008/09 to 2011/12.

1.3 Report Structure

This is an integrated report and the findings in the report are intended to cover all sub-activities. The reader may be interested in the following sections in this report as they relate specifically to individual sub-activities.

2. Program Profile

2.1 Federal Involvement in Aquaculture

Aquaculture contributes $2.1 billion annually in gross economic value for Canada. The industry is active in all provinces and the Yukon Territory, providing 14,500 full-time jobs.

DFO is the lead federal department for aquaculture, with 16 other federal departments and agencies having aquaculture-related responsibilities. The Federal Aquaculture Development Strategy, introduced in 1995, was developed in cooperation with industry, provinces and other stakeholders, and made sustainable aquaculture development a federal priority. The Program for Sustainable Aquaculture was introduced five years later in 2000. It included funding for the Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program, the Aquaculture Environmental and Biological Science Program, a human health component and an improved management and regulatory framework.

The federal government furthered its commitment to aquaculture in 2008/09 when it  introduced the SAP. The mission of the SAP is to set the conditions for the success of a vibrant and innovative Canadian aquaculture sector that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable, as well as internationally competitive, for the benefit of all Canadians. This mission was intended to be achieved through investing in four inter-related program elements: regulatory reform, regulatory science, innovation, and certification and market access. Funding for the SAP was provided for five years with the understanding that the Department would seek to renew the program as is or with changes as may be appropriate.

DFO and 16 other departments and agencies have a specific interest or role in influencing conditions for success of the aquaculture industry. Federal regulations are applied by departments that include DFO, Environment Canada, Health Canada, and by bodies such as the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and others.

2.2 Program Activities

Although the Department’s PAA lists seven components under the Program, only four are actually funded through the SAP introduced in 2008/09. As such, only these four are addressed in this evaluation and are described below. The terms used to describe the four components of the SAP have evolved over the years. The names depicted on the PAA will be used in this report to refer to the SAP components.

1. Regulatory Reform

This Regulatory Reform sub-activity focuses on streamlining federal, provincial and territorial aquaculture regulations and policies pertaining to the environmental aspects of farm site reviews processes; ongoing regulatory management; a regulatory risk management framework; new policies, regulatory amendments and tools to further guide and set parameters for Canada’s aquaculture industry. In addition to reducing the regulatory burden, the intent of this initiative is to increase investor, market and public awareness of and confidence in the environmental performance of the sector.

2. Certification and Sustainability Reporting (CSR)

The goal of the CSR sub-activity was to ensure that, within four to five years following the start of the SAP, Canadian aquaculture products meet rigorous international market requirements for sustainability certification and traceability. The program was intended to develop a Canadian approach to aquaculture certification and market access that coordinates with the broader fish, seafood and agriculture sectors, reflects international market and competitor trends, and incorporates the environmental regulatory framework governing aquaculture in Canada, a key part of market product sustainability certification. Activities also include participation in strategic domestic and international initiatives (e.g., United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, cold-water aquaculture country exchanges, World Wildlife Fund Aquaculture dialogues).

3. Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR)

The PARR was established to support high priority requirements for aquaculture regulatory research undertaken by departmental researchers. The knowledge derived from this research supports Federal, Provincial and Territorial requirements associated with the development of the framework for aquaculture environmental management.

The science pillar of the SAP also supports increased development of science advice, formally through peer-reviewed workshops and papers (Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) process) and also through other science workshops used to disseminate information to inform aquaculture regulatory management policy development and decision making.

At the federal level, the program’s primary clients include DFO’s Aquaculture Management, Aquaculture Operations Management and Habitat Management Directorates. Other federal (e.g., Health Canada; Environment Canada) and provincial and territorial environmental regulatory bodies are indirect beneficiaries to knowledge generated through the PARR.

4. Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program (AIMAP)

The AIMAP is a transfer payment program that provides contributions to catalyze private sector investment in Canada’s aquaculture industry. The intent of this program is to improve the industry’s competitiveness, innovation, management and environmental performance. The Department assists the aquaculture industry in developing and adopting management techniques and technologies intended to enhance economic and environmental performance and to position Canadian aquaculture products as having high value in the marketplace. The program funds innovation that increases sustainable production, species diversification and green operations (technology, processes and procedures). It also funds market access projects focusing on certification and product tracing. It is expected that the program will increase industry’s ability to compete with other countries as a result of increased productivity and improved environmental performance.

The AIMAP also included a component to catalyze industry investment in market-driven certification initiatives that would build industry’s capacity to demonstrate sustainable performance. As well, initiatives would be undertaken aimed at increasing public, market and consumer awareness of the strength and value of Canada’s environmental regulatory regime governing aquaculture operations.

2.3 Risk Profiles and Performance Measurement

The program developed a draft results and risk-based framework in 2008/09, which included a program description, a logic model, a performance measurement framework with a set of performance indicators and a risk analysis.

2.4 Governance

The SAP is organized under three of DFO’s sectors: Program Policy (Aquaculture Management Directorate (AMD)); Ecosystems and Fisheries Management (Aquaculture Operations Management Directorate (AOMD)); and Ecosystems and Oceans Science (Strategic and Regulatory Science Directorate).

2.5 Program Resources

Annual SAP financial allocations and the five-year budget allocation for each of SAP’s four components are shown in the following table.

Table 1: SAP Funding

Table 1: SAP Funding
($000) Annually 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 TOTAL
  $11,000 $11,000 $14,000 $17,000 $17,000 $70,000
 
By Initiative Regulatory Reform Certification, Reporting Regulatory Research Innovation, Market Access All
  $13,000 $10,000 22,000 25,000 $70,000

The SAP was allocated a total of 61 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions that were to be to be staffed as follows:

  • Regulatory Reform – 13 FTEs
  • Certification and Sustainability Reporting – 12 FTEs
  • Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research – 34 FTEs
  • Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program – 2 FTEs

2.6 PROGRAM LOGIC MODEL

logic model

3. Methodology

This section outlines the approach, the evaluation design, evaluation questions, the methodological approach, analytical methods as well as the limitations of the evaluation.

3.1 Project Management

The evaluation was conducted by an evaluation team led by a senior evaluation manager within the Evaluation Directorate at DFO. A working group was established consisting of representatives from the program and the evaluation team. The working group reviewed and provided feedback on this report. 

3.2 Evaluation Approach and Design

The evaluation used a logic model approach combined with multiple lines of evidence drawing on both qualitative (e.g., interviews, program documents) and quantitative data (e.g., administrative data, survey). This approach is a non-experimental design, in which measurements are taken after the program has been implemented with no control group. This model was chosen because the program is a full coverage program, delivered across Canada. This model is appropriate to demonstrate the extent to which a program achieves issues of relevance and performance (effectiveness, efficiency and economy). The evidence assembled from the variety of methods employed (e.g., interviews, document review) was triangulated to establish the key findings and recommendations.

3.3 Key Issues And Evaluation Questions

The evaluation questions were determined on the basis of the Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation (2009), by reviewing documents, and the results of the planning phase interviews with key program contacts. The evaluation questions for each evaluation issue (relevance and performance including effectiveness, efficiency and economy) are presented in the evaluation matrix in Annex 1.

3.4 Data Sources

3.4.1 Document and File Review

A review of documentation was conducted to identify evidence available to assess most evaluation issues. The following types of documents were reviewed:

  • government-wide documents (federal legislations, regulations and policies pertaining to aquaculture, federal budget documents, federal Speeches from the Throne);
  • department-level documents (Departmental Performance Reports, Reports on Plans and Priorities,DFOpolicies, previous audit and evaluation reports, etc.); and the DFO website;
  • SAP documents including: program approval documents, strategic, operational and business plans; project files; documents and minutes from various committees; databases; workshop reports; and
  • external documents e.g., Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM); industry associations; provincial documents.

An Internet search was also conducted to identify information pertinent to the evaluation.

3.4.2 Interviews

Interviews were conducted with DFO management and staff, as well as representatives of and provincial governments and other stakeholders and partners. In total, 63 individuals were interviewed: 19 were from DFO regions; 15 were from National Headquarters; 14 were representatives of industry; 6 were provincial officials and 9 were from other stakeholders and partners (e.g. environmental non-government organizations). 

3.4.3 Survey

As part of the evaluation, DFO’s Evaluation Directorate conducted a survey of AIMAP recipients to address a number of evaluation questions related to the relevance and performance of the program.

The survey was administered electronically and was managed by the Evaluation Directorate in collaboration with the program. The survey focussed on AIMAP performance and to identify opportunities for improvement.

The survey sought the views of recipients who have received AIMAP funding within the 4 years that the program had been in existence. Invitations to complete the survey were forwarded by email to 70 recipients. In total, 37 AIMAP recipients completed the survey (a response rate of 53%) which is generally considered a good response rate for online surveys.

3.4.4 Site Visit

A site visit was made to locations in the Gulf and Maritimes regions which permitted the evaluators to review specific project files, conduct interviews and obtain the views of senior staff concerning the operations of the program. The visit also gave the evaluators an opportunity to meet with representatives of industry associations and provincial officials.

3.4.5 Case Studies

Three case studies were conducted related to the AIMAP: two for the Aquaculture Innovation component and one for the Market Access component. For the Innovation components, the evaluation team visited two shellfish aquaculture innovation projects, one in New Brunswick and the other in Prince Edward Island. The Market Access project was based in Prince Edward Island, which the evaluation team also visited.

The case studies provided an in-depth view of the operation of the program, the nature of the research projects conducted, project success, utilization of results and project management. A total of 6 interviews were conducted with representatives of AIMAP recipients (3), other DFO staff (2) and one stakeholder.

3.5 Methodological Limitations and Mitigation Strategies

Within the methodologies employed, there were a few limitations and challenges. In order to minimize impacts on evaluation results, the different methods described above were triangulated to reach the conclusions and reinforce their validity. That is, the results were compared from the different lines of evidence to confirm the validity of the findings. A combination of qualitative and quantitative data contributed further to the evaluation’s rigour. This ensured that none of the limitations associated with a given line of evidence was prejudicial to the validity of the evaluation results.

One limitation was that the interviewees may overly emphasize the positive aspects of the program, thus limiting the credibility of information provided. In order to mitigate these possible impacts, comments and findings were balanced with more “objective” data, namely the document review and the survey.

4. Major Findings


4.1 Relevance

The evaluation examined whether the Sustainable Aquaculture Program (SAP) meets a continuing need, whether it is aligned with departmental strategic outcomes and federal priorities, and whether its mandate is in keeping with federal jurisdiction.

Continuing Need for the Program


Key Findings: Aquaculture contributes to Canada’s economic prosperity.

With a gross value of more than $2.1 billion in 2009, the Canadian aquaculture industry contributes significantly to the broader Canadian economy, providing more than $1 billion toward Canada's direct, indirect and induced gross domestic product4. The industry is active in all provinces and the Yukon Territory, providing approximately 14,500 full-time jobs5.


Key Finding: Aquaculture is becoming increasingly important to the world food supply.

Aquaculture supplied the world with about 77 million tonnes of fish in 2010, representing 50% of the total food fish supply. This volume represents a rapid growth in aquaculture production, which totalled about 25% of global fish food supply a decade ago.6 Three major factors have contributed to making aquaculture the fastest-growing food sector in the world:

  1. the rising global demand for fish and seafood due to population growth and increased consumer affluence;
  2. declines in wild fisheries stocks; and
  3. technological advances to improve husbandry techniques and enhance productivity for an increasing variety of species.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization7 estimates that, by 2030, the global demand for seafood will rise by about 30%, representing a needed production boost of approximately 40 million tonnes. Aquaculture production is expected to surpass 62% of the global seafood supply within 20 years, yet in Canada it currently accounts for about 30% of the total value of fish and seafood production and landings.


Key Finding: There is a continuing need for DFO to contribute to setting the conditions for the success of a sustainable Canadian aquaculture sector.

In Canada, commercial aquaculture operations exist in every province as well as in the Yukon Territory, with the sector accounting for nearly 30% of the total value of fish and seafood production and landings in Canada. Canadian aquaculture operations harvest close to 145,000 tonnes of product per year8. Canada ranks 23rd among the world’s aquaculture producers9.

Several marine finfish and shellfish species are well established on the east and west coasts, while freshwater trout operations can be found in almost every province. In addition, Canadian finfish aquaculture includes a small number of active tilapia, sturgeon, Atlantic halibut and other operations. The scope of aquaculture operations varies across the country depending upon the species being farmed, the environment (marine, freshwater), and the culture technologies used.

In 2010, British Columbia accounted for about 58% of the total Canadian aquaculture production value, followed by New Brunswick (18%), and Newfoundland and Labrador (13%). Salmon represented the greatest production volume, at 69% in 2010, followed by mussels (17%), oysters (7%), and trout (5%)10.

As the National Aquaculture Strategic Action Plan Initiative (NASAPI) 2011-2015 points out, “Canadian aquaculture still has considerable untapped potential. Indeed, Canada has the potential to be a significant global player in commercial aquaculture and a leading contributor to the development and promotion of sustainable aquaculture technologies. With a vast biophysical resource base, experience and expertise in the production, processing, distribution and marketing of fish and seafood, and coastal infrastructure to expand upon, Canada is well positioned to become an international leader in the production of farm-raised fish and seafood.”

While Canada has considerable potential for production growth for aquaculture along with its economic benefits, progress since the creation of the SAP in 2008 has been impacted by a number of ongoing external constraints. These constraints include an overly complex, multi-jurisdictional governance and regulatory regime; and continued scrutiny of the industry by the public. These factors were recognized at the time that the SAP was created and the program was intended to help create the conditions necessary for the success of the Canadian aquaculture industry by reducing some of the key constraints being faced by this sector. While some progress has been made, there is a requirement for the SAP to continue to address the original needs that existed when the program was created, such as, regulatory reform; helping set the conditions for industry to meet market access requirements; and fostering private sector investment in innovative practices and technologies and regulatory science to support management decisions.


4 http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/stats/index-eng.htm
5 Aquaculture in Canada 2012 � A Report on Aquaculture Sustainability (May 2012)
6 Aquaculture in Canada 2012 � A Report on Aquaculture Sustainability (May 2012)
7 http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/stats/index-eng.htm
8 National Aquaculture Strategic Action Plan Initiative 2011-15 (overarching document)
9 http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/stats/index-eng.htm
10 Aquaculture in Canada 2012 � A Report on Aquaculture Sustainability (May 2012)

Continuing Need – Regulatory Reform


Key Finding: The original need for regulatory reform has not been fully addressed and there is a need to continue to carry out activities that contribute to a coordinated regulatory framework.

Aquaculture is an area of shared jurisdiction and conditions for success of the sector are influenced by the two levels of government. Federally, DFO and 16 other departments and agencies have a specific interest or role in influencing conditions for success of the aquaculture industry.

At the provincial level, responsibilities include promotion, development and regulation of the aspects of the sector that fall within the jurisdiction of provinces.  As well, provinces currently assume responsibility for licensing and leasing of aquaculture sites subject to two exceptions: firstly, in Prince Edward Island, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans issues leases for aquaculture sites; secondly, in British Columbia, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans issues aquaculture licences and the province of British Columbia issues leases for aquaculture sites that are located within the Province.

The objective of the Regulatory Reform sub-activity of the SAP is to reduce the regulatory burden on the aquaculture industry by the establishment of a predictable federal-provincial environmental regulatory framework. This would address one of the constraints for the aquaculture industry, that of dealing with an overly complex, multi-jurisdictional governance and regulatory environment.

Concerns were raised during the evaluation by individuals within DFO as well as by the aquaculture industry about the lack of a clear regulatory and legislative framework for aquaculture and that the Fisheries Act was not an appropriate tool for managing and regulating the industry. It is necessary to apply legislative tools designed for other purposes into aquaculture management regimes. For example, in waters where the Maritimes Provinces Fishery Regulations would apply (in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island and in Canadian fisheries adjacent to those provinces), an oyster farmer can be fined for harvesting his own, legal property if his products do not meet the legal size definition for wild-capture oysters. The absence of a clear regulatory and legislative framework is the major constraint in improving the competitiveness of the aquaculture industry in Canada.

In a Pre-Budget (2012) Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance recommended “That the Government of Canada support the development of a federal Aquaculture Act, which would provide both a long-term framework for aquaculture development in Canada and recognize aquaculture’s growing importance to Canada’s economy”. The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance is a national industry association that represents Canadian aquaculture operators, feed companies and suppliers, as well as provincial finfish and shellfish aquaculture associations.

The need for regulatory reform has long been recognized, both within and external to DFO, as requiring some degree of coordination and harmonization. Several reviews and papers, including one carried in the early 2000s by the Office of the Commissioner for Aquaculture Development, an organization within DFO at the time, raised potential constitutional consequences of the current approach of regulating aquaculture under the Fisheries Act.

The decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court in Morton ruled that finfish aquaculture in British Columbia was a fishery and therefore fell under federal jurisdiction. This resulted in the need for DFO to develop and implement regulations and policies for the aquaculture sector in that province. This required a realignment of priorities for the SAP given the need to create a new regulatory regime and aquaculture management program in British Columbia.

Some of the resources that were originally allocated for the development of a coordinated regulatory framework were redirected to address the British Columbia court decision. Because of the need to shift priorities, progress on some of the regulatory work that had been envisioned to be carried out when the SAP was created in 2008 did not progress as far as planned, including the Framework for Aquaculture Environmental Risk Management (FAERM) which was to have formed the basis for policy and regulatory implementation.

While not initially foreseen as part of the SAP, the new regime resulted in substantial regulatory reform for the federal government in aquaculture in the province. For example, DFO developed the Pacific Aquaculture Regulations. Whereas some activities have taken place to support the development of a coordinated regulatory framework, such as the development of the Aquaculture Environmental Pathways of Effects and the supporting CSAS peer-review science advisory process conducted to validate and inform on the proposed pathways, and the Aquaculture Regulatory Checklist, much work remains to be done.

Based on the work that has been carried out since the creation of the SAP in 2008, and the work still outstanding, there is a continuing need for the Regulatory Reform sub-activity of the SAP.

Continuing Need - Certification and Sustainability Reporting


Key Finding: There is a need for the Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activity to continue however, modifications are required to reflect the evolving needs in the area of certification (new standards and amendments to existing ones) and reporting on demonstration of sustainability.

The goal of the Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activity was to have a Canadian aquaculture industry that is well positioned to meet market demands for high value features such as certification of sustainability in terms of:

  • building consumer and public trust in the aquaculture industry (societal aspect);
  • economic viability and success in delivering economic growth (economic aspect); and
  • operating in a manner that minimizes environmental interactions (environmental performance).

Certification is a way of providing assurance that a product, process or service conforms to specified requirements, or standards. Companies that choose to become certified usually undergo periodic intensive third-party audits to verify their compliance to the standards.

The Department has raised awareness and has helped to position companies in the aquaculture industry to take part in certification and other means of sustainability demonstration initiatives.  

DFO has also raised public market and consumer awareness of the Canadian aquaculture industry through information, outreach initiatives and liaison between governments, industry and markets (e.g. retailers). It has also undertaken analyses of information management and communication needs related to aquaculture sustainability through the Aquaculture Sustainability Reporting Initiative (ASRI) and other reporting requirements.

While activities have taken place and accomplishments have been made, there is still a continuing need for DFO to be involved in certification and sustainability reporting activities. The extent of this involvement should take into consideration the successes to date and a needs analysis in support of the renewal of the SAP. For example, finfish aquaculture operators have grasped the need for certification and the majority of them are either certified or in the process of doing so. In the case of shellfish aquaculture, this view varies. While some operators do not see certification as a major issue and do not see the need to be certified, others believe that the need for certification in the shellfish sector will soon become a requirement as was the case in the finfish sector. It is also anticipated that retailers (buyers) will demand some type of standards to meet the desires of the consumers.

While there will be a need for some involvement in certification, DFO’s role should be modified from what was envisioned at the onset of the SAP. This is because of the success of the certification of the finfish aquaculture operators whose sector is the largest component of the aquaculture industry. However, there remains a continued need to be active in the field of certification to ensure that the Canadian government and the industry are able to participate in these processes as they continue to evolve, as new standards are developed and existing ones amended. In addition, shellfish operators could come under increasing pressure to become certified and, because of their numbers and diversification, will likely require DFO support to position them to do so.

Internationally, certification standards are still evolving. In this regard, the work of DFO in representing Canadian interests in international forums such as, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Standards Organization is particularly important. DFO’s continued involvement is needed to ensure that Canadian interests are reflected in the evolving certification regimes and standards.

For sustainability reporting, there is a continuing need to collect and analyse information on the aquaculture industry so that DFO is able, in coordination with other federal departments and provinces/territories, to demonstrate aquaculture sustainability, in terms of economic, societal, and environment performance.

Recommendation # 1

Context: The evolution of the CSR sub-activity over the past 4 years has indicated that some success has been achieved, particularly in the area of certification in the finfish sector, indicating a modified level of effort would be required. Should the program be renewed, the CSR sub-activity should be adjusted to reflect the successes achieved and to ensure that the Canadian government and industry are able to participate in these processes so that Canadian interests are reflected in the evolving certification regimes and standards. In addition, as certification becomes more prevalent in the shellfish sector some assistance will be required.

It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy modify the level of involvement to reflect successes achieved (certification in the finfish sector), but continue to participate in  the evolving processes for certification regimes and standards, as well as taking the needs of industry (e.g. shellfish) in meeting market access requirements into consideration.

Continuing Need - Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program


Key Finding: There is a continuing need for the Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program to increase private sector investment in the development and adoption of innovative technologies and improved management techniques in the Canadian aquaculture industry.


The rationale for providing funds to aquaculture operators, through AIMAP, is to help them innovate and diversify and become more competitive. The need for innovation in the Canadian aquaculture industry remains strong. Innovation is not a one-time effort or a single project but an on-going effort to reduce costs and increase production through improved or new technology and management techniques. AIMAP innovation projects have helped reduce production costs and improve operational practices for some of the companies in the industry.

To enhance the Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activity, $1 million (5%) over 5 years of AIMAP funding was allocated to encourage industry investments in market-driven certification initiatives. From 2008/09 to 2011/12, the industry has contributed 33% of the total costs of market-driven certification initiatives.

As new certification standards are developed, particularly for the shellfish sector, industry will be required to keep abreast of these developments. In addition, operators will need assistance in determining how to demonstrate their compliance with specific standards which will necessitate involvement from Science. Past AIMAP assistance provided for initiatives such as, the establishment of the North American Mussel Council; the formation of the Canadian Aquaculture Sustainability Forum; and the development of an Aboriginal Aquaculture Certification Standard.

Similarly to DFO’s role in the Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activity, there will be a continuing need for some AIMAP funding to assist industry in positioning itself to meet market access requirements. DFO’s contributions should be modified from what was envisioned at the onset of the SAP because of the success of the certification of the finfish aquaculture operators. However, as certification becomes more prevalent in the shellfish sector some assistance will be required to assist shellfish operators in positioning themselves to become certified under some standard.

Recommendation # 2

Context: Because of the success of the certification of finfish operators, funding directed towards this area should be reduced. Should the program be renewed, AIMAP’s market access component should be modified to reflect the successes achieved, and the need as to assisting industry, (e.g., shellish operators) in meeting market access requirements.

It is recommended that the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management modify the level of funding required for the market access component of the AIMAP to reflect the progress made in certification of finfish operators and to meet the evolving needs of industry (e.g., certification of shellfish operators) in meeting market access requirements.

Continuing Need - Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research


Key Finding: There is a continuing need for the Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research to support the development and implementation of regulatory requirements and to provide advice for policy development, management decision making and operational support for the Department and other aquaculture regulators.

The aquaculture industry is science-based. There is an ongoing need for science to provide new knowledge and advice to support the modification and development of aquaculture regulations, support policy development, management decision making and support for operations management. Most of those interviewed were of the opinion that there is a continuing need for PARR, as aquaculture is a young industry and a great deal is still not known about its environmental and ecosystem impacts. As stated in the section dealing with Regulatory Reform, the development of regulations for the industry is not complete and there is a need for reform of existing regulations and the policy and management decisions made under those regulations. Therefore, continuing science work to be undertaken by the PARR is required. In addition, DFO is the only source of science research in Canada to specifically support aquaculture regulatory activities. 

Furthermore, the policy requirements for developing regulations as contained in the, Cabinet Directive on Streamlining Regulation, which came into effect on April 1, 2007, requires that decisions made to support regulations be made on the basis of best available knowledge and science. Given the science-based nature of the industry and the regulatory work that remains, there is a demonstrable need for the PARR to support regulatory reform and the supporting activities (e.g., policies and guidelines).  

Alignment with Federal Responsibilities and DFO’s Role


Key Finding: The SAP is aligned with federal responsibilities and DFO’s role.

The federal government, through DFO, has been active in aquaculture over an extended period of time. The following demonstrates that the SAP is aligned with Federal responsibilities and as well as DFO’s role.

  • The Department has been the lead federal agency responsible for aquaculture for close to three decades, with this responsibility first assigned by the Prime Minister in 1984.
  • In 1995, the Federal Aquaculture Development Strategy wasendorsed by Cabinet and reaffirmed DFO’s role as the lead federal agency. DFO was tasked with creating policy conditions for the sustainable development of the aquaculture industry and its competitiveness in global markets.
  • The Office of the Commissioner for Aquaculture Development was established by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in December of 1998 to provide advice to the Minister on matters pertaining to aquaculture in Canada. The Commissioner was asked to be the champion for aquaculture within the federal government and to accelerate the implementation of the Federal Aquaculture Development Strategy.
  • In 2000, the federal government approved the Program for Sustainable Aquaculture which was intended to foster a sustainable aquaculture sector by responding to legal and regulatory issues as well as providing for strategic investments in federal capacity to promote the Federal Aquaculture Development Strategy.
  • In 2002, the Department released the Aquaculture Policy Framework which described DFO's vision for aquaculture development and defined in broad terms how the Department would work with the provinces, territories, aquaculture industry and individual Canadians to create the conditions necessary to enable the responsible growth and sustainable development of the Canadian industry.
  • On February 9th, 2009, the British Columbia Supreme Court held that the activity of finfish aquaculture is a fishery and falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government under the Constitution Act, 1867 and struck down the provisions of the British Columbia regulatory scheme related to aquaculture.

In 2010, the National Aquaculture Strategic Action Plan Initiative (NASAPI) was launched to set out a comprehensive strategic vision for the aquaculture sector as well as a series of specific actions to achieve it. It represents the combined views of federal, provincial and territorial agencies, as well as a wide range of industry, aboriginal groups and other stakeholders. The NASAPI was endorsed by the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) and is supported by the aquaculture industry associations. It explicitly outlined the role of government for each of the three principles of sustainable development. The role of DFO in applying these principles is demonstrated below.

  • Environmental Protection - To establish and enforce clear, science-based standards and operating protocols to preserve healthy and productive aquatic environments and protect sensitive habitats. (Regulatory Reform and PARR);
  • Social Licence - To collect, compile, and communicate objective data regarding the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the Canadian aquaculture sector in order to foster a more accessible and transparent decision-making process. (Regulatory Reform; PARR; and CSR).
  • Economic Prosperity - To provide a policy and regulatory framework that enables the sector to pursue responsible and sustainable growth and development (Regulatory Reform; PARR; CSR); and to support innovation that will enhance industry competitiveness (AIMAP). 

The roles described in the NASAPI can be linked to specific SAP sub-activities which support the federal government and DFO’s role in aquaculture.

Alignment with Government Priorities


Key Finding: The SAP is aligned with government priorities.

The SAP is aligned with the Strategic Outcome of an “Economically Prosperous Maritime Sectors and Fisheries” on DFO’s PAA. This in turn is aligns with the federal strategic outcome identified in the 2010/11 Performance Report of the Government of Canada, namely “strong economic growth”.

The SAP’s link to the federal objective of strong economic growth is evidenced by the Department’s Aquaculture in Canada 2012: A Report on Aquaculture Sustainability. This report highlights the economic impact of aquaculture in Canada, noting that the industry “…generates about $2 billion in total economic activity, with over $1 billion in GDP and about $0.5 billion in labour income.”

The SAP is linked to priority areas identified in the 2012 Federal Budget.

  • Expanding Trade and Opening New Markets for Canadian Businesses - Free and open trade has long been a powerful engine for Canada’s economy. Canadian businesses need access to key export markets in order to take advantage of new opportunities. The work undertaken by the CSR sub-activity contributes to this priority.
  • An efficient regulatory system provides effective protection of the interests of Canadians while minimizing the burden on businesses. It is a vital component of an attractive climate for investment and jobs. The Regulatory Reform and the PARR sub-activities contribute to this priority.
  • Jobs and opportunities for Canadians (All SAP sub-activities)
  • Creating value added jobs through innovation (AIMAP)

The SAP also supports other areas identified in the 2011 Speech from the Throne:

  • to create the right conditions for growth and job creation (All SAP sub-activities);
  • to improve Canada’s productivity, enhance economic competitiveness and make targeted investments to promote and encourage research and development in Canada's private sector (AIMAP); and
  • to help create the conditions for local communities, and the industries that sustain them, to succeed. (All SAP sub-activities).

To further support the SAP alignment with government priorities, DFO is committed to the implementation of Canada’s Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, which was tabled in Parliament on October 6, 2010 by the Minister of the Environment. DFO contributes to the implementation strategies related to sustainable aquaculture and each of these are linked to one of the four SAP sub-activities.

4.2 Effectiveness

Effectiveness is defined by the Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation (2009) as the extent to which a program is achieving its expected outcomes. For the SAP, the evaluation examined the extent to which it is achieving its immediate and intermediate outcomes.

Immediate outcomes as stated in the program logic model are:

  • Federal departments, provincial partners, First Nations/Aboriginal groups, industry stakeholders and others are engaged;
  • Information is available to individuals and their organizations on aquaculture science, socio-economics, regulations, policies, programs and activities; and
  • Innovative technologies and management techniques are present in the industry.

Intermediate outcomes as depicted on the program logic model are:

  • The Canadian aquaculture industry is managed through coordinated federal, provincial and territorial regulations, policies, programs and activities; and
  • The Canadian aquaculture industry is innovative, competitive and is able to meet market access requirements.

The evaluation found that the program has made progress in achieving its immediate outcomes but has encountered some challenges in achieving its intermediate outcomes.

Achievement of Immediate Outcomes

Immediate Outcome - Stakeholder and Partner Engagement


Key Finding: The Department has made progress in engaging stakeholders and partners in delivering the SAP. The Department could continue to build on its successes in this area and enhance the engagement processes with groups such as Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations.

Mechanisms for effective communications and liaison among governments, industry stakeholders and partners, public interest and environmental groups, and the public are essential to the continued improvement of a responsible aquaculture industry in Canada.

There are a number of processes in place where stakeholders and partners have an opportunity to discuss and engage in the delivery of activities under the SAP. The Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) include representatives from the provinces and territories as well as DFO. DFO works with provincial and territorial governments to develop, through the auspices of the Strategic Management Committee (SMC), a sub-committee of the CCFAM, appropriate solutions in identified priority areas. The SMC is a national body whose decision making is based on consensus and is accountable to the CCFAM. The SMC develops and implement an annual work plan and reports on its results, most recently being in June 2012, to CCFAM Ministers and Deputies.

The Interdepartmental SAP Coordination Committee was created to bring DFO together with other federal government partners to help maintain efficient coordination at the federal level. While the committee has met eleven times since 2008, some of those interviewed felt that it is not as effective a body as it could be.

From an industry perspective, an Industry Liaison Committee (ILC) was established as a vehicle for addressing major challenges facing the aquaculture industry. Some of the issues discussed through this committee included sustainability reporting, fish health, regulatory issues such as the Pacific Aquaculture Regulations and the proposed Aquaculture Activities Regulations. In addition, in partnership with industry, DFO established the Canadian Aquaculture Sustainability Forum to increase awareness and build capacity related to certification and market access issues.

The PARR seeks to increase the relevant science knowledge base to support informed DFO environmental regulation and decision making and secondarily to inform other federal and provincial environmental regulation. An annual iterative consultation process has been instituted with DFO national and regional staff to identify and prioritize research priorities and work planning, and to share the results of previous and ongoing research. Research priorities from other federal regulators are provided through consultations facilitated through the Aquaculture Management Directorate and provincial needs and priorities are communicated to Science through DFO’s Regional Aquaculture Coordination Offices (RACOs).

For AIMAP, regional committees include representatives from the provinces, other federal government agencies such as the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the National Research Council, who work to help industry with innovation projects. These committees provide a vehicle for stakeholders and partners participation in the AIMAP decision making process.

In terms of involvement with Aboriginal groups, efforts are being made to improve DFO’s engagement practices. The National Aquaculture Strategic Action Plan Initiative identified the need for increasing Aboriginal engagement in aquaculture. The Aboriginal Aquaculture Engagement Initiative was developed in 2011 to follow-up on NASAPI actions to increase Aboriginal engagement in aquaculture. A plan was put in place to support Aboriginal engagement and to increase their involvement in aquaculture business opportunities. 

There are funding opportunities available for Aboriginal groups to become involved in aquaculture activities through DFO Aboriginal programs such as, the Atlantic Commercial Fisheries Diversification Initiative and the Aboriginal Aquatic Resources and Oceans Management Program. Aboriginal groups have also engaged in the SAP through its sub-activities such as the AIMAP, with a major project on closed containment, and with the CSR in the development of a third-party certification standard.

A key group of interested stakeholders for aquaculture are the Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (ENGOs). This group is very diverse, covers a broad range of organizations with varying opinions related to aquaculture and exercise a certain influence on consumer groups. DFO has only achieved a certain amount of success in engaging these stakeholder groups.

Science peer-review processes conducted under PARR through the CSAS include participation by the department, provinces, industry, First Nations and ENGOs on steering committees and at the peer-review meetings. The development of science advice through this process necessitates that all participants reach consensus on the advice developed.

Recommendation # 3

Context: DFO has been successful in engaging stakeholder groups such as representatives from the provinces and territories, other federal government partners, industry and Aboriginal groups. However, it has enjoyed limited success in engaging Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations. These groups can impact the success of the Canadian aquaculture industry through their influencing public perception of the sustainability of the aquaculture industry.

It is recommended that the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy continue to build on its successes of engaging all of its stakeholder groups on aquaculture issues including improving its processes for engaging groups such as Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations

Internationally, DFO has engaged other countries such as, Norway, Chile and Scotland that have mutual aquaculture interests. Recently, some key areas of discussions have included: regulatory standards and requirements; sea lice and fish health management.

DFO’s involvement internationally has also included participating in:

  • the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Sub-Committee on Aquaculture, with the development of the Technical Guidelines for Aquaculture Certification;
  • International Standards Organization’s Technical Committee 234 on fisheries and aquaculture standards, resulting in completion of wild and farmed traceability standards, and development of environmental monitoring, technology, assessment, and food safety standards;
  • various trade shows and technical forums;
  • the World Wildlife Fund Aquaculture Dialogues;
  • the Global Aquaculture Alliance standards development; and
  • the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization.

Through these forums, DFO has been able to contribute to and influence, to the extent possible, all aspects of aquaculture development, management and regulations

Immediate Outcome - Availability of Information


Key Finding: The SAP has made progress in making information available to stakeholders and partners on aquaculture activities.

Access to sound information on human health, environmental protection and the socio-economic benefits associated with aquaculture production is key to ensuring the public's confidence that aquaculture is developing in a sustainable manner.

Information is available to individuals and their organizations on aquaculture science, socio-economics, regulations, policies, programs and activities. Information is generated by the four SAP sub-activities and intended to inform aquaculture partners and stakeholders on aquaculture activities and inform decision making by DFO management.

Awareness of DFO Aquaculture Activities

DFO web pages dealing with aquaculture and sustainable seafood are valuable sources of information for aquaculture initiatives undertaken by the Department. The web-site provides information on the four SAP sub-activities. It also provides information on proposed changes to regulations (e.g., Release of Aquaculture Substances Regulatory Regime) as well as linkages to reports that provide information on aquaculture activities, such as the “Socio-Economic Impact of Aquaculture in Canada, 2009”. A plan is currently in place for the Program to refresh the web-site, making it more coherent, better organized and integrated.

DFO has also launched the sustainable fish and seafood web-site (a joint effort of AMD and the Fisheries and Aboriginal Policy Directorate of DFO’s Program Policy Sector) to provide information on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

Education and awareness initiatives are undertaken in support of certification requirements for industry through analysis of various certification standards available to farm operators. DFO has also undertaken outreach activities with retailers and buyers in an effort to create market opportunities for the aquaculture industry. These initiatives include the Canadian Aquaculture Sustainability Forum which is a collaborative effort of the aquaculture industry, DFO and provincial government to support efforts to demonstrate the sustainability and responsibility of aquaculture in Canada. In addition, DFO participates in the Seafood Value Chain Roundtable which brings together key industry leaders from across the value chain – input suppliers, producers, processors, food service industries, retailers, traders and associations in an effort to enhance Canadian competitiveness and profitability.

At the international level, AMD’s participation at international trade shows, such as the International Boston Seafood Show, is a key component of DFO’s sustainable seafood movement engagement strategy. This participation allows DFO to communicate directly with key international stakeholders such as, seafood buyers and ENGOs, to demonstrate the sustainability of Canada’s aquaculture industry and to assist in creating market access opportunities for the industry. 


Key Finding: The PARR posts projects summaries on the DFO website and research results are disseminated at the annual PARR National meeting, presented at conferences and workshops and made available through project fact sheets, as well as the CSAS process.

In the case of the PARR sub-activity, project summaries are posted on the DFO web-site along with keys contacts, in the event that additional details are required. In addition some of the PARR projects are included in the Aquaculture Research and Development Review 2011, which is a publication that provides a compendium of aquaculture research and development projects. Research results are communicated with Program clients at the PARR National Meeting, held annually to review completed and ongoing project results and discuss upcoming research priorities. PARR research results are also made available through project fact sheets and presentations at conferences and workshops. Through the CSAS process, science knowledge and advice, including results derived from PARR research is made available on the CSAS website.


Key Finding: The AIMAP is making information available to industry stakeholders on project results.

One of the objectives of the AIMAP is that projects results are disseminated across the industry. To this end, the AIMAP has disseminated information on the results of projects to others in the industry. 

DFO posts project summaries as well as final AIMAP reports on its website, to ensure project results are available to the public. DFO encourages the successful proponent to participate in workshops, conferences and other venues to showcase the results of successful projects so that others could benefit from project results.

The on-line survey conducted for the evaluation provides an indication that proponents share the knowledge gained from their AIMAP projects with others. In the survey, AIMAP recipients were asked to state the methods used to inform others about their completed projects. The responses are as follows:

  • 62% have showcased their work at site tours and demonstrations
  • 59% have responded to email or phone discussions
  • 57% have participated in  workshops and conferences
  • 43% have highlighted the project in their company websites, and
  • 38% of the projects have been profiled in industry or scientific publications

Overall, the evidence obtained through the survey, document reviews and interviews indicate that AIMAP information is being made available through a variety of mechanisms such as the DFO web-site and presentations at industry gatherings.


Key Finding: In 2012, DFO issued the report “Aquaculture in Canada: A Report on Sustainability”.To release the report, the Department adopted a low profile approach which involved posting it on the DFO web-site and sending a notice to interested parties, identified through the Aquaculture Sustainability Reporting Initiative process. This low profile approach limited the availability and potential reach of the report.

The Aquaculture Sustainability Reporting Initiative (ASRI) was initiated in 2009/10, in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, to describe environmental, social and economic conditions and trends in the Canadian aquaculture sector. Responsibility for the ASRI currently rests with the Program Policy Sector. This will change in 2012-13, when operational elements of sustainability reporting will be transferred to the Ecosystems and Fisheries Management Sector.

In January 2012, DFO issued a “Report to Launch the Aquaculture Sustainability Reporting Initiative” which was intended to launch and provide a foundation for the ASRI process. In May 2012, the first annual report, “Aquaculture in Canada: A Report on Sustainability” under the ASRI process was released. Given the importance of demonstrating sustainability of the aquaculture sector and the need to provide information to the general public on the state of the aquaculture industry, a more aggressive communication strategy for the release of future versions of the sustainability report would be helpful.

This first annual report of the ASRIdocuments the current information on the sustainability of aquaculture in Canada. Key sustainability issues for Canada’s aquaculture sector are reflected and organized into six themes: Ecosystem Health, Animal Health and Welfare, Safe and Healthy Products, Resource Use, Social Responsibility, and Economic Viability. The report outlines the general operating context of the industry and the key issues of aquaculture sustainability in Canada today. The report also summarizes key management practices that are in place to demonstrate how industry and government work together to address sustainability.

There has been much progress in moving the initiative forward, however, there are challenges with producing such a report. These include:

  • the development of indicators to measure the performance of the key sustainability issues for Canada’s aquaculture sector are reflected and organized under the six themes identified in the report;
  • the lack of consistency in the data and its availability from the provinces and territories to support reporting on the key aquaculture issues; and
  • making the Canadian public aware of the existence of the report. For the first report, a “soft launch” approach was taken for its release. While the report was posted on the DFO web-site, notification of its existence was made directly only to those involved in the ASRI process. 

Recommendation # 4

Context: The ASRI is an important tool to demonstrate the sustainability of aquaculture in Canada. To adequately report on this, key indicators that measure the performance of key sustainability issues must be developed along with a plan to ensure data consistency and availability from provinces and territories. In addition, a plan must be in place to ensure that the Canadian public is made aware of the existence of the report on sustainability. 

It is recommended that the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy develop a strategy to address the key challenges in sustainability reporting, specifically , the development of indicators; data availability and consistency; and reach (dissemmination) of the report.

Immediate Outcome - Innovative Technologies and Management Techniques are Present in the Industry.


Key Finding: The Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program has contributed to the development of innovative technologies and the adoption of management techniques for the Canadian aquaculture industry for program participants. Benefits of funded projects extend to industry suppliers and technology companies working with the proponents.

The AIMAP was implemented to assist the aquaculture industry to develop innovative technologies and adopt management techniques for the Canadian aquaculture industry.  From 2008/09 to 2011/12, AIMAP funded 120 projects.

A review of final reports submitted by project proponents indicates that funded projects have largely been successful. In addition, 86% of respondents to the online survey indicated that their project was either successful or very successful while 97% responded that their AIMAP project was very innovative compared to anything else demonstrated in Canada or internationally.

Most of those interviewed indicated that innovative technologies and management techniques are present in the industry. Several examples of successful projects were offered by the interviewees, which have improved the competitiveness of the industry. These include a machine called the Flipper which is used by oyster growers for flipping oyster cages and manufactured by a firm in Prince Edward Island. A second example is an automated digital imaging technology for mussel grading developed for a Prince Edward Island company. In these two instances not only did the aquaculture operators benefit from the innovations but the manufacturers and suppliers also benefited from them. There was qualitative evidence that these innovations have attracted the attention of other aquaculture operators who have demonstrated an interest in acquiring these technologies.

A triangulation of the evidence obtained through document reviews; the on-line survey and interviews give a strong indication that there are innovative technologies and management practices in the industry. 

Achievement of Intermediate Outcomes

Expected Intermediate Outcome: The Canadian aquaculture industry is managed through coordinated federal, provincial and territorial regulations, policies, programs and activities.


Key Finding: The decision to develop regulations for the management of aquaculture in British Columbia resulted in a realignment of priorities and pre-empted some of the activities that had been intended to be carried out for regulatory reform. Nevertheless, progress has been made on some activities leading to coordinating and harmonizing some regulatory aspects of aquaculture.

The management of aquaculture is a shared responsibility between the federal, provincial and territorial governments. The SAP was intended to modernize the regulatory management of the industry, creating a predictable, consistent decision-making process that also reduced cumbersome and unnecessarily costly delays.

The overall goal of the Regulatory Reform sub-activity was to create a transparent and efficient governance and regulatory framework for the Canadian aquaculture sector. It was expected that this framework would enhance the confidence of the public, investors and markets as safeguarding public interest, protecting the environment and advancing industry competitiveness and sustainable growth. The sub-activity was to focus on achieving reforms in the area of environmental regulatory management. This area impacts on aquaculture site review times, regulatory burden, and public, market and investor confidence.

In accordance with the program approval documentation for the SAP, it was intended that an overarching Framework for Aquaculture Environmental Risk Management (FAERM) would be developed to coordinate environmental objectives, management principles, risk assessment and management processes, science advice, as well as risk mitigation measures.

Document reviews and interviews indicate that work began on the FAERM in 2008-09 and some progress was made. The initiative was put on hold when in February 2009 a shift in priorities was required. This was the result of the British Columbia Supreme Court decision (Morton) that finfish aquaculture in British Columbia was a fishery under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Consequently, the government decided to develop regulations covering the management of aquaculture in British Columbia.

At the time that the SAP was created in 2008, the British Columbia Supreme Court decision had not been anticipated nor were the resources required to address the decision originally included in the SAP funding. The resources to develop the regulations subsequently came from the Regulatory Reform sub-activity of the SAP.

The Pacific Aquaculture Regulations and the applicable provisions of existing federal fishery regulations, such as the Fishery (General) Regulations replaced the existing provincial regulatory framework that was previously applied in the management of aquaculture activities in British Columbia.

While not anticipated at the time of the creation of the SAP, the Pacific Aquaculture Regulations represent a fundamental change in the department’s responsibilities for aquaculture and underline the possible long-term implications of the British Columbia Supreme Court decision (Morton) in other parts of the country.

Despite the unexpected events since the SAP was created, some activities did take place under the Regulatory Reform sub-activity in addition to the development of the British Columbia regulations and policies.  These include:

Regulatory Initiatives

FAERM

The FAERM was not completed as originally foreseen but, while initially deferred, some work has since continued on aspects of the FAERM. A draft Aquaculture Risk Management Framework has evolved from the FAERM and continues to be further developed. The Aquaculture Risk Management Framework provides a model (process) for conducting risk assessments of regulatory initiatives and supports the development of improved and better integrated processes with other DFO sectors.  

Pathways of Effect

It was intended that the FAERM would use a Pathways of Effects (POEs) approach to identify the environmental effects of aquaculture. Four aquatic ecosystem components were considered: fish habitat; water quality; fish health; and fish communities and populations for which POEs were developed. A scientific peer-review of the POEs was requested through the DFO CSAS process. This helped ensure that the proposed pathways were underpinned and informed by science and to identify where knowledge gaps and need for further research was required. This helped to inform the PARR priority setting process. In addition, the POEs informed the development of Environmental Management Policies under the British Columbia Aquaculture Regulatory Program.

Aquaculture Regulatory Checklist Survey

To assist in the development of the FAERM, an “Aquaculture Regulatory Checklist” was developed to help evaluate how the aquaculture industry is currently being managed. The purpose of the checklist was to analyze gaps and overlaps in federal, provincial and territorial regulatory frameworks for the aquaculture sector, and to help ensure that Canada’s aquaculture regulatory structures continue to meet identified principles and best practices in environmental risk management.

The information from the checklist enabled DFO to understand how the sector is currently being managed across the country. While the checklist did provide useful information, there is still more work to be done on analyzing the federal-provincial/territorial regulatory frameworks to enable harmonization of regimes to reduce regulatory burden.  The checklist was also used by the Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activity to assist in evaluating certification programs.

Aquaculture Activities Regulations

One of the initiatives undertaken by the Regulatory Reform sub-activity was the development of the proposed Aquaculture Activities Regulations under the Fisheries Act.

The Aquaculture Activities Regulations is a regulatory regime that is intended to manage activities such as:

  • the deposit into fish bearing waters of substances used to treat fish for pathogens and pests (e.g. pesticides and drugs);
  • the destruction of pests and other organisms (e.g. tunicates) through means such as power washing; and
  • procedures undertaken by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, under the Health of Animals Act, to control or eradicate fish diseases.

The implementation of this regulation will be supported by provincial and territorial partners. Negotiations are currently under way to establish Memoranda of Understanding with those parties and DFO.

Recommendation # 5

Context: The Regulatory Reform sub-activity has made limited progress in addressing the constraint of an overly complex, multi-jurisdictional governance and regulatory regime. There is still a need to continue the work already started on regulatory reform.

It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy develop a plan that identifies the specific needs to be addressed in order to provide: a coordinated and harmonized regulatory framework; establish priorities; and assign targets and accountabilities to the tasks to be undertaken.

Expected Intermediate Outcome: The Canadian aquaculture industry is innovative, competitive and able to meet market access requirements.


Key Findings: With support from SAP implementation, the Canadian aquaculture industry has further developed innovative practices. It is making progress in being positioned to meet changing market access requirements which contribute to the competitiveness of the industry.

The SAP is intended to create the conditions needed to develop an innovative, competitive, and sustainable aquaculture sector in Canada. Each of the SAP sub-activities has a role to play in contributing to an industry that is innovative, competitive and able to meet market access requirements.

While there are indicators that the industry is making progress to be innovative, competitive and being able to meet market access requirements, there have been other external constraints that have prevented the Canadian aquaculture industry from achieving its full potential.

Innovative


Key Findings: There is qualitative evidence that AIMAP projects have helped the participants lower their costs and become more profitable and competitive.

The overall goal of the AIMAP is to catalyze aquaculture industry investment from the private sector, as well as other sectors, that will: “Improve the competitiveness of the Canadian aquaculture industry by encouraging an aquaculture sector, which continuously develops and adopts innovative technologies and management techniques, to enhance its global competitiveness and environmental performance.” 

Based on evidence obtained through interviews, the SAP is contributing to an innovative and competitive industry through the AIMAP which helps fund projects designed to promote private sector investment in innovative and market access projects. While there is information on the adaptation of key technologies, processes and practices at the individual grower level, information at the industry level is not available.

The individual applicants who have received AIMAP funding have benefited from the innovations tested and adopted by them, and there are several examples of these. The on-line survey conducted provides evidence that the participants have benefited indicate as follows:

  • Improved competitiveness internationally: 49%
  • Improved competitiveness domestically: 73%
  • Improved environmental performance: 62%
  • Reduced production costs: 49%

Based on the online survey and the interviews conducted, there is an indication that benefits are accruing to AIMAP recipients.

Market Access Requirement


Key Findings: The SAP has contributed to ensuring that the Canadian aquaculture industry meets market access requirements.

Certification is a way of providing assurance to consumers that a product, process or service conforms to specified requirements, or standards and becomes a means of providing access to a market. Companies that choose to become certified usually undergo an intensive third-party audit to verify their compliance.

Document reviews and interviews indicate that DFO has made progress in ensuring that information on third party certification programs is made available to industry. DFO has also worked with international organizations such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Standards Organization to improve the transparency, inclusiveness, and broad stakeholder consultation; to ensure that new certification standards do not erect barriers to Canadian aquaculture companies; and further to ensure that the standards adhere to the goal of having an aquaculture sector that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

While the Government does not generally develop standards, DFO worked with industry and the Canadian General Standards Board to develop a national standard for organic aquaculture to reduce consumer confusion through a uniform approach to organic product certification and labeling.

AIMAP has also helped industry become ready for certification by funding projects for industry associations at the national and provincial levels. These projects have helped industry understand the need to be certified as well as requirements of the various certification standards that are available. It also helped industry to determine the documentation and auditing requirements in order to become certified and maintain the certification.

An overall Departmental strategy for market access, that covers wild and farmed fish, has been drafted but has yet not been finalized. The draft strategy identifies the following activities in support of market access:

  • Influencing Global Standards – influence the development of global standards on market access requirements, consistent with Canadian industry practices;
  • Supporting Industry – supports the Canadian industry’s ability to meet market access requirements and remain globally competitive; and
  • Market Access Support on Trade-related Issues – implement a comprehensive and well-coordinated government response in support of industry aimed at keeping markets open and nurturing new markets.

The SAP, through the CSR sub-activity, contributes to these activities.

Competitiveness


Key Findings: Despite the progress that the SAP has made, the aquaculture sector has remained relatively stable in terms of production. The Canadian aquaculture production, in terms of harvested tonnage, has not shown any significant growth over the last decade.

In 2010, production was reported at 161.3 thousand tonnes up from 154.6 in 2009, an increase of 4%. The highest production year in the past decade was 2006 when the total tonnage was reported at 172.4 thousand tonnes. On a global basis, aquaculture production went from 137.3 million tonnes in 2006 to 148.5 million tonnes in 2010, an increase of 8%11

The value of aquaculture production in Canada has remained relatively stable since 2005 with an increase of about 4.5 percent in 201012. While the Canadian aquaculture production, in terms of harvested tonnage, has not shown any significant growth over the last decade, most people interviewed were of the view that the SAP helped the industry maintain its position in the market place.


11 Aquaculture in Canada 2012 � A Report on Aquaculture Sustainability (May 2012)
12 Aquaculture in Canada 2012 � A Report on Aquaculture Sustainability (May 2012)

Constraints for the Aquaculture Industry


Key Finding: Despite the progress made in some areas, there are constraints that have impacted the Canadian aquaculture industry’s ability to grow.

Based on document reviews and interviews, it was recognized that, at the time the SAP was created in 2008, the Canadian aquaculture industry had expanded much more slowly than its international competitors. This was primarily due to the combination of a number of sector specific constraints including:

  • an overly complex, multi-jurisdictional governance and regulatory regime that is eroding investor confidence in the Canadian sector;
  • inadequate Canadian product certification and traceability investment to meet emerging market demands and expectations;
  • inadequate investment in scientific research to support the Government of Canada’s regulatory responsibilities in aquaculture; and
  • inadequate Canadian investment in innovation to support high sector productivity, competitiveness, expansion and advances in greener technology.

The SAP addressed each of these constraints to varying degrees by creating conditions for an innovative and competitive aquaculture industry.

  • Through the CSR sub-activity, progress has been made in assisting industry position itself for certification and traceability standards. The AIMAP also made investments in supporting market access which helped leverage additional investments from the private sector.
  • The AIMAP made investments in innovation to support high sector productivity, competitiveness, species diversification and advances in greener technology. Through these investments, the AIMAP was able to leverage investments (at a ratio of 4:1) from the private sector and other levels of government to support innovative projects.
  • The PARR increased the funds available to support scientific research and human resources capacity in support of the federal and provincial government regulatory and management responsibilities.
  • The Regulatory Reform sub-activity has made limited progress addressing regulatory issues but it was hampered by the requirement to shift its focus to addressing the British Columbia court decision (Morton).

There were a number of constraints identified by individuals interviewed and documentation reviewed during the evaluation as to why the Canadian aquaculture industry has not experienced any significant growth.

Regulatory Framework

The area of constraint most frequently mentioned by industry representatives and some individuals within DFO was the complex regulatory framework that the industry must work under. Industry believes that the lack of clear legislative certainty prevents the aquaculture industry from attracting new investment for expansion and growth. This is the same issue that had been identified as a rationale for the funding of the SAP in 2008.

The focus of the constraint centers on the Fisheries Act which governs the operations of the industry. The Act, however, does not specifically refer to aquaculture; thus, in its present form, does not provide legislative and regulatory expression to the federal interest in aquaculture and its development.  

The industry has been promoting the creation of a Canadian Aquaculture Act for some time. As well, the former Commissioner of the Office of Aquaculture Development, a position created by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in 1998, recommended the creation of an Act in a Legislative Review document in 2001. 

There have been discussions and documents prepared stating the pros and cons of creating an Aquaculture Act or amending the Fisheries Act to give recognition to the aquaculture industry. Given the concerns expressed by industry and some individuals within DFO, it would be appropriate for the Department to make a clear statement as to whether it intends to move forward with the creation of an Aquaculture Act or amending the Fisheries Act to reflect aquaculture as an industry.

Cohen Commission Enquiry

In November 2009, the Government of Canada announced the establishment of a Commission of Enquiry (Cohen Commission) to investigate the reasons for the decline of sockeye salmon in the Fraser River and make recommendations for improving the future sustainability of the Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery.

The scope of the enquiry includes an examination of the policies and practices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, as well as other factors which may have affected the stock, including among other things, aquaculture. Since the announcement of the Commission, the department instituted restrictions on major changes to existing salmon licences and the issuance of new ones in British Columbia. Given that the province of British Columbia is the highest producer of farmed salmon in the Canada, the inability to expand in the province has impacted the growth of the industry.

Plan for Aquaculture


Key Finding: The National Aquaculture Strategic Action Plan Initiative has set out a vision for the aquaculture sector in Canada. However, DFO has not established a plan that addresses its responsibilities for aquaculture.

Prior to the SAP, there had been no national overarching strategic approach to the sustainable development of aquaculture in Canada. Concurrently with the implementation of the SAP, the National Aquaculture Strategic Action Plan Initiative (NASAPI) was developed by the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers. Its development was in recognition that there was a need for a national overarching strategic approach to ensure the ongoing sustainable development of aquaculture.

The NASAPI sets out a comprehensive strategic vision for the sector as well as a series of specific actions needed to achieve it. It represents the combined views of federal, provincial and territorial agencies as well as those of a wide range of aboriginal groups, industry, and other public stakeholders. It includes an overarching document and a set of five more detailed Strategic Action Plans focussed on the east and west coast finfish and shellfish aquaculture sectors, as well as the freshwater sector at the national scale.

The NASAPI is intended to be a roadmap that charts a path toward a more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable aquaculture sector in Canada. While the intention to fill the gap where a strategic plan for aquaculture did not exist is good, a specific DFO plan that addresses its responsibilities would demonstrate DFO’s commitment to the sector.

Recommendation # 6

Context: The National Aquaculture Strategic Action Plan Initiative that was developed by the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers sets out a comprehensive strategic vision for the aquaculture sector as well as a series of specific actions needed to achieve it. DFO, as the lead federal department, would enhance its leadership role and demonstrate its commitment to aquaculture by having a plan that addresses its responsibilities for the aquaculture sector.

It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy, in consultation with the Senior Assistant Deputy Ministers of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Assistant Deputy Minister of Ecosystems and Oceans Science, develop a plan that addresses the Department’s responsibilities for aquaculture. The plan should be measurable and include targets, timelines and accountabilities, as well as taking resource implications into consideration.

4.3 Efficiency and Economy

The evaluation examined whether the SAP has the appropriate governance, processes and systems in place to support program delivery.

Governance


Key Finding: The leadership of aquaculture in the Department has not been clarified to reflect the current organizational structure.

In 2008, when the SAP was created, the lead for aquaculture was AMD, which at that time was part of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Management (FAM) Sector. In 2010, the AMD moved to the newly created Program Policy Sector but in 2011 the operational aspects of AMD were moved to the newly formed Ecosystems and Fisheries Management (formerly FAM) Sector.

During these transitions there has not be any formal decision taken to neither confirm the lead role for aquaculture in AMD nor shift it out of that organization. The SAP is currently organized under three of DFO’s sectors: Program Policy; Ecosystems and Fisheries Management; and Ecosystems and Oceans Science. Given that the SAP (or portions of it) is now up for renewal, it would be appropriate to confirm or clarify the leadership mandate for the program to reflect the current situation.


Key Finding: The governance structure developed for the SAP was not fully implemented as planned.

A national aquaculture secretariat was created to support a coordinated approach to SAP implementation, including leadership on SAP’s Aquaculture Governance Framework. The Framework was established based on an integrated committee structure which included various committees for DFO internal, interdepartmental, federal/provincial/ territory, as well as industry stakeholders.

Within DFO, two Committees were established (as prescribed in the program approval document) for the SAP:

  • The Departmental Aquaculture Management Committee (DAMC)
  • The Departmental Aquaculture Operations Committee (DAOC)

The DAMC was intended to be responsible for establishing prioritization criteria; monitoring program performance; development of recommendations on reallocations and program adjustments; and provision of advice and recommendations to the Deputy Minister and the Departmental Management Committee (this has been replaced by the Strategic Outcome Committees (SOCs) and the Deputy Minister Policy Committee).

The DAMC includes representatives from all headquarter sectors involved in the SAP as well as the regions. It is intended to be a vehicle to discuss the overall delivery of the SAP activities as well as providing oversight for the program. The DAMC has not met since September 2010. Given that there is no designated lead for aquaculture and that the SAP is delivered by four directorates in three sectors, as well as in all DFO regions, the absence of an integrated committee to discuss cross sectoral issues leaves a void in the governance framework for the SAP.

The evaluation team was told that the responsibilities of the DAMC were overtaken by the creation of the SOCs. While some aquaculture issues are brought to the SOCs on a case by case basis, there is no evidence to indicate that the DAMC has been replaced in terms of keys responsibilities such as, addressing cross-sectoral issues; monitoring program performance; reallocating resources; priority setting; and oversight.

The second internal committee, the DAOC, presently falls under the mandate of the Ecosystems and Fisheries Management Sector. It was intended to provide direction on operational policies and program priorities implementation. As it currently operates, the DAOC provides an avenue for discussion between the HQ and all DFO regions and for identifying ongoing day-to-day issues.

External to DFO, the committees that were established provide for a balance across three of the key stakeholder groups: other federal government partners; provincial and territorial governments; and industry.

The CCFAM Strategic Management Committee on Aquaculture brings together federal, provincial and territorial governments. There is evidence to indicate the SMC has been an effective component of the governance structure for the SAP.

The Interdepartmental SAP Coordination Committee was created to bring DFO together with other federal government partners to help maintain efficient coordination at the federal level. While the committee has met eleven times since 2008, some of those interviewed felt that it is not as effective body as it could be. However, the meetings are attended by those having a specific interest in certain issues.

At the industry level, an Industry Liaison Committee (ILC) was established to provide an opportunity to formalize discussions, share information, and improve communications on a regular basis, as well as, formalize the collaboration and coordination between AMD and the industry. Although, the ILC has met formally only 6 times from 2008 to 2011, there is an extensive engagement on an on-going basis, including through the Canadian Aquaculture Sustainability Forum.

In addition to the governance framework for overall implementation of the SAP, specific governance structures are in place for the AIMAP and PARR sub-activities.

The AIMAP is managed at National Headquarters by the Aquaculture Operations Management Directorate (AOMD), which is located in the Ecosystems and Fisheries Management Sector. The AOMD is supported by the six DFO regional offices through the Regional Aquaculture Coordinators Offices (RACOs).

AIMAP Regional Review Committees have been formed in each region except for the Gulf and Maritimes regions where one committee serves both regions for efficiency reasons. The committees discuss, evaluate and rate AIMAP proposals and ensure that they clearly demonstrate how they meet regional priorities as well as the goals and criteria of the program. The committees make recommendations to the RACOs who have the final decision making authority at the regional level (i.e., to decline or recommend a project).

At the national level, a National Review Committee reviews, evaluates and ranks those proposals submitted by the region and offer recommendations concerning funding to the Executive Director, AOMD, who is the final decision making authority for AIMAP projects.

The PARR is managed by the Aquaculture Science Branch (ASB) in the Strategic and Regulatory Science Directorate of the Ecosystems and Oceans Science Sector. The Program is supported by the PARR Advisory Committee which functions in an advisory capacity. It is composed of Aquaculture Science Managers from each Region and members from Aquaculture Management, Habitat Management and Aquaculture Operations Management Directorates in NCR. The Committee is tasked with engaging the wider science and regulatory communities within DFO on the research directions taken by the PARR and reviewing and making recommendations on research projects and funding. Recommendations made by the committee are subject to the approval of the National Science Directors Committee.

The Regulatory Reform and Certification and Market Access sub-activities are located in the Aquaculture Management Directorate which is situated in the Program Policy Sector. The Directors responsible for these two areas report to the Director General of AMD. While representatives from these sub-activities sometimes attend DAOC meetings, there is no formal governance structure to support the delivery of their activities in areas such as planning, priority setting and performance measurement.

Recommendation # 7

Context: An appropriate governance structure had been planned for the SAP. It was not however, implemented as planned. The absence of or an ineffective governance structure can lead to deficiencies in areas such as planning, coordination and oversight of program activities. In addition, neither the leadership role for aquaculture in the Department or the mandates of two key governance committees, the Departmental Aquaculture Management Committee and the Departmental Aquaculture Operations Committee have been clarified to reflect the changes to DFO’s organizational structure.

It is recommended that the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, in consultation with the Assistant Deputy Ministers of Program Policy and Ecosystems and Oceans Science:

  1. re-examine the mandates for the Departmental Aquaculture Operations Committee and the Departmental Aquaculture Management Committee, as well as the need for Departmental Aquaculture Management Committee to be re-activated to provide a mechanism for discussion of cross-sectoral issues, as well as for planning, prioritization and oversight of program activities; and
  2. confirm whether the Aquaculture Management Directorate, which resides under the Program Policy Sector, will continue as the Departmental lead for the Sustainable Aquaculture Program.

Planning and Priorities


Key Finding: Planning and priorities processes are in place for the AIMAP and PARR. However, for the Regulatory Reform and Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activities, the process is informal and ad-hoc.

The primary planning process for the AIMAP and PARR sub-activities involve the selection of projects annually based on priorities that have been established for the programs.

AIMAP priorities for eligible activities were identified at the time that the program was created and are reviewed annually with provinces, territories and sector stakeholders. The priority areas identified are the following eligible activities:

  • Sustainable Production 
  • Species Diversification
  • Green technology

In response to the question, in the survey conducted for the evaluation, “To what extent would you say the program’s priority areas continue to serve industry’s innovation and market access needs?”, less than half of the respondent indicated that species diversification continued to meet industry needs. For sustainable production and green technology, the percentage was 73% and 62% respectively.

Some individuals interviewed were of the view that diversification is an important priority from the national perspective, but they questioned whether AIMAP was the appropriate program to fund this priority, particularly since diversification projects tend to be multi-year commitments.

Recommendation # 8

Context: Species Diversification, as an eligible activity, was not appropriately and clearly defined and its continued rationale was questioned by many of the individuals surveyed and interviewed. While some successes were identified for this category of project, concern was expressed about the ability of the AIMAP to meet the needs in this area, particularly given the timeframe required for new species development.

It is recommended that the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, in consultation with the Assistant Deputy Ministers of Program Policy and of Ecosystems and Oceans Science, re-examine the species diversification component of eligible activities to clearly define the nature and scope of projects that can be undertaken so that they will lead to satisfactory outcomes, within the time period and funding parameters available under the Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program.

The process for identifying research priorities for PARR has evolved since the beginning of the program. Originally, it was intended that project and research areas would be prioritized based on aquaculture regulatory management requirements as identified through the FAERM, as well as other opportunities to increase ecosystem-based performance that may be identified. 

Since the FAERM was delayed, the PARR priorities became driven by factors such as the gaps identified in the 2009 CSAS Aquaculture Pathways of Effects review, the British Columbia court decision (Morton), and the Cohen Commission of Enquiry.

PARR priority setting is an iterative process with several meetings scheduled with clients to review and approve progress on projects and priorities for new research. These meeting include the PARR National meeting which is held annually to present research results to clients and to communicate priorities for future research. This meeting is attended by science and management staff from National Headquarters and the regions, including the RACOs who bring with them input regarding provincial regulatory and management needs.

The Regulatory Reform and CSR sub-activities provided the evaluation team with various types of documents, such as listings of activities and events and deck presentations as their work plans. While the AMD contributes to various departmental activities such as the Reports on Plans and Priorities; and the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, work planning processes and priority setting exercises are carried out on an informal basis.

Recommendation # 9

Context: Work planning and priority setting exercises are important aspects of delivering a program to ensure that the appropriate activities are approved, completed and reported on at the appropriate time. In the case of Regulatory Reform and Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activities, there was no evidence that this was taking place. The DAMC and/or the DAOC could be appropriate mechanism for facilitating these processes.

It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy and the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management build upon existing processes to put in place a work planning process that includes planning and priority setting processes as well as reporting mechanisms for the Regulatory Reform and Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activities.

Performance Measurement

A draft Performance Measurement Strategy was developed as part of the Results-based Management and Accountability Framework prepared at the time that the SAP was created. This strategy was never finalized or implemented. A performance measurement strategy is the selection, development and ongoing use of performance measures for program management and decision making. A Performance Measurement Strategy, when implemented, is a tool that allows the program to measure the extent to which it is achieving its expected outcomes on an on-going basis and be used to support decision-making.

While this initial framework, particularly as it related to performance measurement, was never implemented, the program contributed to the Departmental Performance Report and the Performance Measurement Framework as part of the Management Results and Resources Structure.

Recommendation # 10

Context: A Performance Measurement Strategy had not been finalized or implemented for the SAP. This impedes the ability of the program to assess the extent to which it is achieving its expected results.

It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy, in consultation with the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Assistant Deputy Minister of Ecosystems and Oceans Science, develop and implement a performance measurement strategy for the Program, should it be renewed. The strategy should identify expected outcomes and establish appropriate performance indicators and targets against which to assess them.

Utilization of PARR Research Results


Key Finding: The extent to which the results of PARR projects are used to inform regulatory activities is tracked.

Information on research conducted under the PARR is provided through the DFO website; work planning and prioritization meetings; and the Research and Development Review 2011, which provides a compendium of aquaculture research and development projects. A survey of internal DFO users, e.g. AMD and Habitat Management Directorate, was conducted in 2012 which gave some indication of the utilization of results or whether the needs of program clients, including those external to DFO are being met. It also provided information on the overall delivery of the PARR. PARR staff has indicated that this survey will be improved and delivered in the future.

Funding


Key Finding: The AIMAP has leveraged funding from other sources to complement its contribution to innovative and market access projects. In addition, sound judgement is being exercised in determining the amount of funding that is provided to recipients.

The data provided by AIMAP staff indicates a high level of funding leveraged from 2008/09 to 2011/12. The ratio of funds leveraged (excluding funds contributed by federal agencies such as the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) is at 3.7, that is, for every $1.00 of AIMAP funding, $3.70 is invested through other sources. Including funds provided by other federal agencies increases the ratio to 4.1.

Based on an analysis by the Evaluation Directorate, a comparison of the AIMAP funding requested and the amount committed, showed that 73 of the 120 successful proponents (2008-11), or 61%, received less than requested. And the average amount committed for all 120 projects was about 59% of the average AIMAP funding requested. This is an indication that proposals are closely scrutinized to ensure that the amount provided to recipients for projects is kept at a minimum.

5. Conclusions

There is a continuing need for the Sustainable Aquaculture Program to contribute to setting the conditions for the success of a sustainable Canadian aquaculture industry.

Aquaculture supplied the world with about 77 million tonnes of fish in 2010, representing 50% of the total food fish supply. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that, by 2030, the global demand for seafood will rise by about 30%, representing a needed production boost of approximately 40 million tonnes.

The importance of aquaculture to the Canadian economy is demonstrated by its existence in every province as well as in the Yukon Territory, contributing to the broader Canadian economy with a gross value of more than $2.1 billion. The industry is active in all provinces and the Yukon Territory, providing approximately 14,500 full-time jobs. Aquaculture accounts for nearly 30% of the total value of fish and seafood production and landings in Canada.

For each of the four sub-activities of the Sustainable Aquaculture Program, there is a need for them to continue:

  • The original need for Regulatory Reform has not been fully addressed and there is a requirement to continue to carry out activities that contribute to a coordinated regulatory framework.
  • There is a continuing need for the Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research to support the development and implementation of regulatory requirements and to provide advice for policy development, management decision making and operational support for the Department and other aquaculture regulators.
  • The AIMAP has encouraged private sector investment in the aquaculture industry to support innovative technologies and management practices. However, continued work in this area is required.
  • The Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activity has made gains in enabling aquaculture operators meet market access requirements. This work should continue however, modifications to the sub-activities are required to take into consideration its successes, particularly in certification, and focus on areas of greater need.

The federal government has demonstrated its commitment to the development of the aquaculture industry for more than 25 years. During this time, several initiatives to assist the aquaculture industry have been supported and DFO has been named as the lead federal department for aquaculture. The SAP contributes to developing the conditions for the success of a vibrant and innovative Canadian aquaculture sector that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable, as well as internationally competitive, for the benefit of Canadians.

The evaluation concludes that the program has made some progress in achieving its expected immediate and intermediate outcomes.

The Department has engaged stakeholders and partners in delivering the SAP. However, improvement could be made to strengthen the processes for engaging with Environmental Non-Government Organizations. 

The SAP has made progress in making information available to stakeholders through market access initiatives such as certification awareness and sustainability reporting, as well as through the DFO web-site. Information is also being made available through AIMAP and PARR project results.

Progress has been limited in achieving the expected outcome of the aquaculture industry being managed through coordinated federal, provincial and territorial regulations, policies, program and activities. DFO has addressed the requirements of the British Columbia Supreme Court Decision (Morton) but this had not been planned as part of the SAP. This impacted the ability to carry out the planned work under the Regulatory Reform sub-activity of the SAP as resources had to be re-directed to the British Columbia regulatory activities.

The Canadian aquaculture industry has innovative practices and is making progress in being able to meet market access requirements. Despite the progress made by the SAP, the sector has remained relatively stable in terms of production.

The program has been delivered in an efficient and economical manner. However, a number of areas for improvement were identified that would enhance the efficiency of the program. These include improvements in the areas of governance, planning and priority setting, and performance measurement.

Annex I: Evaluation Matrix

Annex I : Evaluation Matrix
Evaluation Issue/ Question Indicator Methodology
1.1To what extent is there a continued need for SAP sub-activities?
  1. Evidence/demonstration of the on-going need for the sub-activity for a sustainable and prosperous sector
  2. Evidence the sub-activity responds to changes in government and departmental policies and priorities.
  3. Evidence/demonstration of the on-going demand for the sub-activity from the aquaculture regulators, program managers (DFO, other federal departments; provincial partners) and industry.
  • Document review
  • Case studies
  • Interviews
1.2To what extent is the program consistent with Federal government roles and DFO priorities?
  1. Consistency with Departmental strategic objectives and priorities.
  2. Consistency with federal government objectives and priorities.
  3. Constitutional need or link with federal legislation.
  4. Court decisions and federal commissions that direct federal jurisdiction and role.
  • Document review
  • Case studies
  • Interviews
1.3Are program activities aligned with the roles and responsibilities of DFO and appropriate to the federal government?
  1. Congruency with Departmental Program Activity Architecture; strategic planning documents; Departmental Performance Reports; Reports on Plans and Priorities.
  2. Coherence between sub-activity and project objectives and broad Government of Canada direction and DFO’s strategic outcomes.
  3. Consistency between the objectives of the initiative and the federal government and the Department’s outcomes and priorities.
  • Document review
  • Interviews
2.1To what extent are federal departments, provinces and territories, First Nations, Aboriginal groups, ENGO, industry stakeholders and others engaged in decision-making processes?
  1. Strategic and collaborative governance and engagement mechanisms prepared (in place).
  2. Province, territories, First Nations, industry, environmental non-government organizations are engaged in regulatory and other projects and activities.
  3. International liaison and outreach takes place in areas related to regulatory responsibilities and other activities.
  • Document reviews
  • Interviews
2.2To what extent is information available to individuals and their organizations on aquaculture science, socio-economics regulations policies, programs and activities?
  1. Overarching Risk Management Framework has been established. (ARR)
  2. Regulatory amendments or new regulations are brought forward through the regulatory process. (Governor-in-Council. (ARR)
  3. Development of science advice through Peer Reviewed state of knowledge reports and workshops, CSAS peer-review processes and provision of informal advice; and inputs to policy development. (PARR)
  4. Science related communication activities take place with First Nations, provinces, industry. (PARR)
  5. Scientific information and resources are available for consideration in developing regulations and policies. (PARR)
  6. Education and awareness initiatives are undertaken, in support of meeting market access expectations and requirements. (ACSR)
  7. Reports on sustainability are produced. (ACSR)
  8. Perceived effectiveness of dissemination of information (all).
  • Interviews
  • Document Review
2.3To what extent are innovative technologies and management techniques present in industry?
  1. Contribution agreements are in place for innovation projects.
  2. Results of innovation projects are meeting the needs of industry and DFO in line with expected project results.
  3. Innovation and market access results are communicated to aquaculture stakeholders.
  • Interviews
  • Case studies
  • Web survey
  • Document Review
2.4To what extent is the Canadian aquaculture industry managed through coordinated federal, provincial and territorial regulations, policies, programs and activities?
  1. Regulatory objectives and requirements are clearly defined. (ARR)
  2. Targets for reducing regulatory burden have been established and met. (ARR)
  3. Risk analysis framework developed and implemented. (ARR)
  4. Views of provinces, territories and industry on the coordination and harmonization of regulations, policies, programs and activities.
  • Interviews
  • Case studies
  • Document Review
2.5To what extent is the Canadian aquaculture industry innovative, competitive and able to meet market access requirements?
  1. Industry/regulator adoption of key technologies, processes, practices or knowledge/science.
  2. Level of investment generated by provincial and private investment in innovation and market access initiatives.
  3. Presence of certification/market access policy direction for aquaculture.
  4. Trends in industry production, revenues and costs.
  5. Level of awareness and confidence in government environmental regulation of the aquaculture sector.
  • Interviews
  • Case studies
  • Web survey
  • Document Review
2.6What external/internal factors have influenced and impacted on the achievement of outcomes?
  1. Internal factors that influence outcomes (e.g., SR; SOR)
  2. Financial issues
  3. External factors that influence outcomes
  4. Barriers and challenges to aquaculture
  • Interviews
  • Document Review
  • Case studies;
  • Web survey
2.7What are some of the lessons learned from the SAP which would help improve the program outcomes?
  1. Unintended outcomes, both positive and negative and their importance
  • Interviews
  • Case Studies
  • Document Review
  • Web Survey
3.1Is the design and delivery of the program appropriate to produce the desired outputs and outcomes?
  1. Appropriateness of program management and delivery processes.
  • Interviews
  • Case Studies
  • Document review
3.2To what extent has the program design addressed the highest priority needs of the aquaculture industry and governments involved?
  1. Priority setting exercise for program activities.
  • Interviews
  • Document review
3.3Is program performance being monitored and used for decision-making?
  1. Availability/implementation of performance measurement system.
  • Interviews
  • Case Studies
  • Document review
4.1Is the program operating in a way that minimizes the use of resources to achieve its intended outcomes?
  1. Leveraging of private sector and other funding with AIMAP funding.
  2. Improvements that could be made program delivery
  • Interviews
  • Document review
4.2Do any of the program activities duplicate and /or overlap the programs and activities of other federal departments or agencies or provincial governments.
  1. There is no duplication of activities being carried out within DFO.
  2. Clients/beneficiaries views on whether the program or component of the programs should be transferred to another level of government, non-government organization or to the private sector.
  3. Roles and responsibilities are clearly delineated between Federal and provincial departments and agencies.
  • Document review;
  • Case studies
  • Interviews

Annex II: MANAGEMENT ACTION PLAN

(Note: this Program’s funding will end on March 31, 2013. DFO is currently developing a proposal for future funding for consideration as part of the process to develop the Federal Budget 2013. Pending the Budget’s outcome, this Management Action Plan will be revised, as necessary)

Annex II : Management Action Plan
Recommendations

Context: The evolution of the Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activity over the past 4 years has indicated that some success has been achieved, particularly in the area of certification in the finfish sector, indicating a modified level of effort would be required. Should the program be renewed, the Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activity should be adjusted to reflect the successes achieved and to ensure that the Canadian government and industry are able to participate in these processes so that Canadian interests are reflected in the evolving certification regimes and standards. In addition, as certification becomes more prevalent in the shellfish sector some assistance will be required.

Recommendation 1:
It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy modify the level of involvement to reflect successes achieved (certification in the finfish sector), but continue to participate in the evolving processes for certification regimes and standards, as well as taking the needs of industry (e.g. shellfish) in meeting market access requirements into consideration.

Strategy

As part of the Department’s proposal for renewed aquaculture funding under the SAP, beyond March 31, 2013, the current Certification and Market Access pillar will be re-focused, where appropriate, to better reflect and respond to the current pressures on governments and the Canadian aquaculture sectors to provide demonstrations of sustainability to Canadians and the market place, and to improve market access for Canadian aquaculture products.

Management Actions Actions Completed Actions Outstanding Target Date Supporting Evidence

A DFO business case for SAP funding renewal will be developed as part of the Federal Budget 2013 process.

Analysis, engagement and drafting of the business case is underway Completion and submission of the business case March 2013 draft documents, meetings and conference calls
Recommendations

Context: Because of the success of the certification of finfish operators, funding directed towards this area should be reduced. Should the program be renewed, Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program’s market access component should be modified to reflect the successes achieved, and the need as to assisting industry, (e.g., shellfish operators) in meeting market access requirements.

Recommendation 2
It is recommended that the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management modify the level of funding required for the market access component of the Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program (AIMAP) to reflect the progress made in certification of finfish operators and to meet the evolving needs of industry (e.g. certification of shellfish operators) in meeting market access requirements.

Strategy
The recommendation will be addressed through the process of renewing the Sustainable Aquaculture Program, taking into account the progress made in certification of finfish operators and realigning funding to recognize certification requirements of shellfish operators, and broader market access requirements of the industry.
Management Actions Actions Completed Actions Outstanding Target Date Supporting Evidence
Through the SAP renewal process, review/modify the level of funding associated with the market access component of the AIMAP to meet the evolving needs of industry in meeting market access requirements. Analysis, engagement and drafting of the business case is underway Completion and submission of the business case March  2013 Program renewal analysis/documentation
Recommendations
Context: DFO has been successful in engaging stakeholder groups such as representatives from the provinces and territories, other federal government partners, industry and Aboriginal groups. However, it has enjoyed limited success in engaging Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations. These groups can impact the success of the Canadian aquaculture industry through their influencing public perception of the sustainability of the aquaculture industry.

Recommendation 3
It is recommended that the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy continue to build on its successes of engaging all of its stakeholder groups on aquaculture issues including improving its processes for engaging groups such as Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations.
Strategy
The Department will explore opportunities for deepened and more effective engagement with groups, including environmental and non-governmental organizations, on aquaculture issues. The level and means of engagement pursued will be influenced by the outcome of the SAP funding decision under the Federal Budget 2013.
Management Actions Actions Completed Actions Outstanding Target Date Supporting Evidence
A DFO business case for SAP funding renewal will be developed, taking into account options for engagement, as part of the Federal Budget 2013 process. Analysis, engagement and drafting of the business case is underway Completion and submission of the business case March 2013 draft documents, meetings and conference calls
Recommendations

Context: The Aquaculture Sustainability Reporting Initiative is an important tool to demonstrate the sustainability of aquaculture in Canada. To adequately report on this, key indicators that meausre the performance of key sustainability issues must be developed along with a plan to ensure data consistency and availability from provinces and territories.  In addition, a plan must be in place to ensure that the Canadian public is made aware of the existence of the report on sustainability.

Recommendation 4
It is recommended that the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy develop a strategy to address the key challenges in sustainability reporting, specificially, the development of indicators; data availability and consistency; and reach (dissemmination) of the report.

Strategy
As part of the Department’s proposal for renewed aquaculture funding under the SAP, beyond March 31, 2013, the current Certification and Market Access pillar will be re-focused (where appropriate and within renewed amounts of funding) to support development and implementation of a sustainability reporting strategy, including the key challenges of development of indicators; data availablity and consistency; and reach (dissemmination) of the report.
Management Actions Actions Completed Actions Outstanding Target Date Supporting Evidence

A DFO business case for SAP funding renewal will be developed as part of the Federal Budget 2013 process.

Analysis, engagement and drafting of the business case is underway

Completion and submission of the business case

March 2013

draft documents, meetings and conference calls

Recommendations

Context: The Regulatory Reform sub-activity has made limited progress in addressing the constraint of an overly complex, multi-jurisdictional governance and regulatory regime. There is still a need to continue the work already started on regulatory reform. 

Recommendation 5
It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy develop a plan that identifies the specific needs to be addressed in order to provide: a coordinated and harmonized regulatory framework; establish priorities; and assign targets and accountabilities to the tasks to be undertaken.  

Strategy

The current aquaculture regulatory function is to be re-focused, considering available resources and pending a decision on the renewal of SAP funding under the Federal Budget 2013, including a needs assessment, prioritization and work plan of activities to make further progress on a coordinated and harmonized regulatory framework.

Management Actions Actions Completed Actions Outstanding Target Date Supporting Evidence
DFO’s aquaculture management activities will be reviewed and revised, where appropriate and within available resources (and pending a decision on the renewal of SAP funding under the Federal Budget 2013). Analysis, engagement and drafting of the SAP funding renewal business case as part of the Federal Budget 2013 process is underway DFO’s aquaculture management activities will be reviewed and revised, where appropriate and within available resources. March 2014 draft documents, meetings and conference calls
Recommendations

Context: The National Aquaculture Strategic Action Plan Initiative that was developed by the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers sets out a comprehensive strategic vision for the aquaculture sector as well as a series of specific actions needed to achieve it. DFO, as the lead federal department, would enhance its leadership role and demonstrate its commitment to aquaculture by having a plan that addresses its responsibilities for the aquaculture sector.  

Recommendation 6
It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy, in consultation with the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Assistant Deputy Minister of Ecosystems and Oceans Science, develop a plan that addresses the Department’s responsibilities for aquaculture. The plan should be measurable and include targets, timelines and accountabilities, as well as taking resource implications into consideration.

Strategy

Pending a Federal Budget 2013 decision, a Plan (including a performance measurement strategy, as referenced in recommendation #10) will be developed and implemented, reflecting the decision.

Management Actions Actions Completed Actions Outstanding Target Date Supporting Evidence
Pending a Federal Budget 2013 decision, a plan (including a performance measurement strategy, as referenced in recommendation #10) will be developed and implemented, reflecting the decision. Analysis, engagement and drafting of the SAP funding renewal business case as part of the Federal Budget 2013 process is underway.

Development of a plan

September 2013

draft documents, report, meetings, conference calls, plan

Recommendations

Context: An appropriate governance structure had been planned for the Sustainable Aquaculture Program. It was not however, implemented as planned. The absence of or an ineffective governance structure can lead to deficiencies in areas such as planning, coordination and oversight of program activities.  In addition, neither the leadership role for aquaculture in the Department or the mandates of two key governance committees, the Departmental Aquaculture Management Committee and the Departmental Aquaculture Operations Committee have been clarified to reflect the changes to the Department’s organizational structure.   

Recommendation 7
It is recommended that the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, in consultation with the Assistant Deputy Ministers of Program Policy and Ecosystems and Oceans Science:

  1. re-examine the mandates for the Departmental Aquaculture Operations Committee and the Departmental Aquaculture Management Committee, as well as the need for the Departmental Aquaculture Management Committee to be re-activated to provide a mechanism for discussion of cross-sectoral issues, as well as for planning, prioritization and oversight of program activities; and
  2. confirm whether the Aquaculture Management Directorate, which resides under the Program Policy Sector, will continue as the Departmental lead for the Sustainable Aquaculture Program.
Strategy

a) Re-examining the mandate of DAOC and the idea of re-invigorating the DAMC will be both examined with the aim of clarifying the most effective governance mechanisms for discussion and decision on cross-sectoral issues, as well as for planning, prioritization and oversight of program activities.
b) Within the context of SAP renewal discussions, a decision could also be sought on whether an overall departmental lead (i.e. sector lead) is required to manage the renewed SAP, or whether a broader governance function (e.g. DAMC) could be defined and utilised to govern the multi-sector nature of the Program.

Management Actions Actions Completed Actions Outstanding Target Date Supporting Evidence

a) three-sector HQ discussion/decision on the mandate of DAOC and the idea of re-invigorating the DAMC and re-examining its mandate (potential implications for management action)

b) three-sector HQ discussion/decision on whether an overall departmental lead (sector lead) is required to manage the SAP, or whether a broader governance function (e.g. DAMC) could be defined and utilised to govern the multi sector nature of the Program.

 


March 2013

March 2013

March 2013

 

Recommendations

Context: Species Diversification, as an eligible activity, was not appropriately and clearly defined and its continued rationale was questioned by many of the individuals surveyed and interviewed. While some successes were identified for this category of project, concern was expressed about the ability of the Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program to meet the needs in this area, particularly given the timeframe required for new species development.    

Recommendation 8
It is recommended that the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, in consultation with the Assistant Deputy Ministers of Program Policy and of Ecosystems and Oceans Science, re-examine the species diversification component of eligible activities to clearly define the nature and scope of projects that can be undertaken so that they will lead to satisfactory outcomes, within the time period and funding parameters available under the Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program (AIMAP).

Strategy

Subject to continuation of the AIMAP through the SAP renewal process, the species diversification component of the Program will be reviewed with the objective of targeting species diversification projects with demonstrated success at the applied research stage and allow greater targeted focus through AIMAP on species nearing commercial-scale production that would be advanced under the time period and funding parameters of the Program.

Management Actions Actions Completed Actions Outstanding Target Date Supporting Evidence

Define the nature and scope of the species diversification component of the AIMAP as part of SAP renewal process.

Analysis, engagement and drafting of the business case is underway

 

Completion and submission of the business case

March 2013

Program renewal analysis/documentation

Recommendations

Context: Work planning and priority setting exercises are important aspects of delivering a program to ensure that the appropriate activities are approved, completed and reported on at the appropriate time. In the case of Regulatory Reform and Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activities, there was no evidence that this was taking place.  The Departmental Aquaculture Management Committee and/or the Departmental Aquaculture Operations Committee could be appropriate mechanism for facilitating these processes. 

Recommendation 9
It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy and the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management build upon existing processes to put in place a work planning process that includes planning and priority setting processes as well as reporting mechanisms for the Regulatory Reform and Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activities.

Strategy

Current work planning / priority setting processes as well as reporting mechanisms on DFO Regulatory Reform and Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activities will be improved, where appropriate. The specific focus and extent of actions taken will be dependent on the Federal Budget 2013 decision on renewed SAP funding.

Management Actions Actions Completed Actions Outstanding Target Date Supporting Evidence

Build upon existing processes to improve planning and priority-setting for Regulatory Reform and Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activities

A DFO business case for SAP funding renewal is being developed as part of the Federal Budget 2013 process.

Current workplans, priority setting and reporting

DFO will improve work planning, priority setting and reporting on its
Regulatory Reform and Certification and Sustainability Reporting sub-activities, within available resources.

March 2014

draft documents, meetings and conference calls

Recommendations

Context: A Performance Measurement Strategy had not been finalized or implemented for the Sustainable Aquaculture Program. This impedes the ability of the program to assess the extent to which it is achieving its expected results.

Recommendation 10
It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Policy, in consultation with the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Assistant Deputy Minister of Ecosystems and Oceans Science, develop and implement a performance measurement strategy for the Program, should it be renewed.  The strategy should identify expected outcomes and establish appropriate performance indicators and targets against which to assess them.

Strategy

Pending a Federal Budget 2013 decision, a performance measurement strategy will be developed and implemented, reflecting the decision.

Management Actions Actions Completed Actions Outstanding Target Date Supporting Evidence

A performance measurement strategy will be developed, pending the results of the Budget 2013 outcome and as part of the Department’s Program Activity Architecture (PAA).

Current performance measurement under the SAP / PAA.

Develop performance measurement strategy.

June 2013

draft documents, meetings and conference calls