“COVID-19 has created real challenges for our fish and seafood processing sector, and they have continued to respond with tenacity and innovation,” Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans.
Fish and seafood processing businesses in Canada are getting a $62.5 million shot in the arm to remain safe and operational during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The aid under the Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund (CSSF) will help fish and seafood processors put in place health and safety measures to help protect workers against COVID-19 and maintain Canadian jobs.
Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) which will dispense the funds in Western Canada, has allocated more than $9 million in funding to support fish, seafood and aquaculture processors. It will begin accepting applications from Indigenous and non-Indigenous fish and seafood processors in the West as of June 22, 2020.
In addition, the Government of Canada announced it is reopening the Canadian Fish and Seafood Opportunities Fund (CFSOF) , making the program more nimble and adaptable to changing circumstances brought on by COVID-19.
Launched in 2018, the CFSOF is a national cost-sharing federal, provincial and territorial program that helps the fish and seafood sector address new market-access issues and identify branding opportunities, in order to maximize the value of Canada’s world-class fish and seafood.
“COVID-19 has created real challenges for our fish and seafood processing sector, and they have continued to respond with tenacity and innovation,” said Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard.
“The Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund will provide the sector with the support they need to increase their capacity and adapt their strategies to meet the changing demands of the consumer. And we know that by bolstering our processors, we are ensuring consistent buyers for our harvesters and a strong food supply chain, one that includes a consistent stream of Canada’s world class fish and seafood,” she said in a statement.
“The fish and seafood processors are facing new challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and I am happy that Western Economic Diversification Canada is helping them to address the gap in this key sector for the West, which will help communities get through these challenging times,” said Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development.
The Fisheries Council of Canada (FCC) and the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) said the funding will help to support the Canadian aquaculture and wild-capture fish and seafood sectors as they weather the COVID-19 pandemic on the front lines.
As an essential service, the Canadian fish and seafood industry has continued to work hard to maintain supply to consumers during this crisis, the two groups said in a joint statement.
“As with most essential services, the Canadian fish and seafood industry has had to overcome many hurdles to remain safe and operational during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Paul Lansbergen, President of FCC.
“Federal support is critical to ensuring the industry remains strong to continue to support the food supply chain and lead the way for Canada’s economic recovery.”
“We appreciate the recognition of the importance of the Canadian fish and seafood industry that comes with the launch of the Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund,” said Timothy Kennedy, President & CEO of CAIA.
“Our industry is a cornerstone of the Canadian economy that supports thousands of jobs in our rural and coastal communities.”
The Fisheries Council of Canada (FCC) is the voice of Canada’s wild capture fish and seafood industry.
The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) is the national association that speaks for Canada’s seafood farmers, whose members generate over $6 billion in economic activity and employ over 25,000 Canadians.
(Image courtesy of Browns Bay Packing Company)