An Ocean of Potential

Manning in Coast of Bays to study aquaculture

Clayton Hunt
Published on June 2, 2014

Jennifer Caines, an official with Northern Harvest Sea Farms, talking to Senator Fabian Manning on his trip to Pool’s Cove on Monday, May 26. The trip was part of the Standing Senate Committee’s mandate to study Canada’s aquaculture industry to prepare a report and recommendations for Ottawa. Senator Manning is third from left in this photo.

Photo courtesy of Cyr Couturier


Senator Fabian Manning, the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, was in the Coast of Bays (COB) on Monday, May 26.

Senator Fabian Manning, the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, was in the Coast of Bays (COB) on Monday, May 26.

The Senate Committee started studying Canada’s aquaculture industry earlier this year to start preparing a report that will be delivered to the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans in June 2015.

The committee members visit to Pool’s Cove, Harbour Breton and St. Alban’s was part of its fact-finding activities to help senators gain hands-on knowledge from individuals, companies and organizations that participate in the aquaculture industry.

Manning told the Advertiser that during the visit to the Coast of Bays, and the meeting held in Gander on May 27, the members heard from many people that have an interest in the industry.

Manning said he wanted to bring his fellow Senators to the Coast of Bays to have them see first-hand the positive economic impact the industry is having on the area.

 “We have been travelling throughout Canada to complete this study on aquaculture, and it’s clear from our visit to the COB that Newfoundland is miles ahead in relation to having a strong, solid footing in aquaculture,” he said in an interview during Monday’s visit.

“What I wanted to show my committee members from the COB visit is that, due to the aquaculture industry here, these communities have not only steadied, they have survived and have grown and have been revived economically.”

Manning said there is an ocean of opportunity in Newfoundland for the industry to develop further. However, he noted there are challenges in the industry that will need to be seriously addressed by the federal government.

Main Challenge

One of the key challenges facing the aquaculture industry is that its rules and regulations fall under the Canadian Fisheries Act, which was written about 150 years ago. The Act does not even include the word aquaculture and this is a major concern for all stakeholders, said Manning.

“The fact that Canada doesn’t have an Aquaculture Act is a big bone of contention with people in the industry,” Manning said. “We heard this loud and clear in our visit to the COB and in the meeting held in Gander.

“The aquaculture industry’s rules and regulations fall under the jurisdiction of 17 federal government departments today. I’ve talked to officials in many of these departments in trying to find out who’s responsible for what and where the buck stops.

“It's pretty difficult to determine this at times.”

Manning said despite the fact the four Atlantic provinces have a Memorandum of Understanding on aquaculture, there are many differences in rules and regulations in each province regarding the industry.

 The committee would recommend an Aquaculture Act, Manning said he could not say what the final report and recommendations would contain.

“ However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that nearly everyone who appeared before us, which included municipal leaders like Mayor Roy Drake of Harbour Breton and Mayor Jamie LeRoux of St. Alban’s, research officials and industry leaders, stressed the importance of Canada having an Aquaculture Act.

“So, I would believe this would be one of our recommendations to the federal government in our June, 2015 report.

 “We will take time and care in preparing our recommendations that the Minister and officials can use to move the industry forward.”

Manning said the development of an Aquaculture Act is very important for the future.

“We have a lot of aquaculture activity in Canada,” he said, but the industry has had challenges.

“We are a very small player in the world’s aquaculture game as we supply just 0.5 percent of the planet’s market for aquaculture products.

“However, we have a huge potential which will be of major importance to rural Canada, especially rural Newfoundland as is being witnessed in the Coast of Bays today.

“This industry is a win-win situation for rural areas of the country, and we all need to make sure we do our best in moving it into the future.”