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Fisheries Development Act – Annual Report 2019-20

Table of contents

Introduction

Under the provisions of the Fisheries Development Act administered by Fisheries and Oceans Canada:

  1. The Minister may undertake projects for:
    • more efficient exploitation of fishery resources and for the exploration for, and development of, new fishery resources and new fisheries;
    • the introduction and demonstration to fish harvesters of new types of fishing vessels and fishing equipment and new fishing techniques; and
    • the development of new fishery products and for the improvement of the handling, processing and distribution of fishery products.
  2. The Minister may enter into an agreement with any province providing for the undertaking jointly with the government of the province or any agency thereof of any project that the Minister is authorized to undertake under point one.
  3. The Minister may, with the approval of the Governor in Council, enter into an agreement with any province providing payment to the province of contributions in respect of the cost of any project that is undertaken by the government of the province or any agency thereof and that the Minister is authorized to undertake under point one.
  4. The Minister may enter into an agreement with any person for the joint undertaking of any project that the Minister is authorized to undertake under point one, or for the payment to any person of contributions in respect of the cost of any such project undertaken by that person.
  5. For the purpose of assisting in the formulation and assessment of fisheries development projects, the Minister may undertake economic studies alone or jointly with the government of any province or agency thereof or with any university, educational institution or person, and may coordinate any such studies with similar studies undertaken in Canada.

In the fiscal year 2019-20, the federal contribution funding expended under the Act was valued at $34.79 million, through targeted contribution programs fostering Indigenous participation in integrated commercial fisheries and in the management of aquatic resources.

Programs

Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative

In 1999, the Supreme Court of Canada Marshall Decision affirmed a treaty right to hunt, fish and gather for the purpose of earning a “moderate livelihood” for the 35 Mi’kmaq, Maliseet and Peskotomuhkati First Nations (MMPFN) in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and the Gaspé region of Quebec.

The Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (AICFI) provides funding and support to eligible MMPFNs affected by the Marshall decision to: strengthen economic self-sufficiency of MMPFN communities by supporting opportunities for commercial fisheries enterprises (CFEs); maximize the economic potential of these CFEs; increase accountability and transparency in CFEs by ensuring sound business and management practices; and advance common harvest rules and decision-making processes with other commercial harvesters, contributing to one fishery for all.

Through AICFI, MMPFNs receive advice, direction and financial support in program components designed to follow stages of business development which is accomplished by building capacity for business development, participation in harvester training, providing opportunities for expansion and diversification of existing fisheries businesses and providing opportunity to participate in aquaculture development.

The 2019-20 expenditures under AICFI totalled $14.73 million, all of which was used to support MMPFN participants with business development planning, training and various other capacity building activities.

Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative

In 2019-20, the Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (PICFI) program continued its commitment to an environmentally sustainable, and economically viable integrated commercial fishery. The program supports greater participation and integration of First Nations in commercial fisheries by providing commercial fishing access, funding and capacity building to support the development of successful and sustainable First Nation owned and operated CFEs.

The total PICFI contribution expenditures for 2019-20 of $16.99 million supported participants with business development, aquaculture development, training, and various other capacity building activities.

Northern Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative

In 2017-18 the Northern Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (NICFI) program was created to develop and maximize the potential of their community-based communal and aquaculture operations. NICFI uses a step wise approach with a particular focus on business development planning and advice. It is targeted at enterprise-specific training for fisheries and aims to meet the needs of communities whether they wish to pursue a commercial fishery, a redistributive commercial fishery or a hybrid of both.

The objective of NICFI is for Indigenous groups being fully capable of participating in fisheries operations and becoming successful, self-sustaining harvesters. This is accomplished by building capacity for business development, participation in harvester training, providing opportunities for expansion and diversification of existing fisheries businesses and providing opportunity to participate in aquaculture development.

The total NICFI contribution expenditures for 2019-20 of $2.73 million supported the development of Indigenous CFEs, aquaculture activities and/or a redistributive model.

Certification and Market Access Program for Seals

In 2015, the Department created the Certification and Market Access Program for Seals (CMAPS), which uses the authorities of the Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management Program. Under these authorities, CMAPS supports the development of certification and tracking systems so that seal products derived from seals harvested by Indigenous communities can be certified, as such, and as a result can be sold in the European Union and also supports capacity-building so that Indigenous communities can take advantage of renewed market access in the European Union.

CMAPS provided $334 thousand in 2019-20 to support capacity building within Nunavut’s Indigenous communities, and to create awareness and encourage participation in seal harvesting and processing.

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