Ottawa in search of few good experts on aquaculture science

Independent Expert Panel on Aquaculture Science to advise Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

By SeaWestNews

The Federal government is looking for a few good experts and scientists to be on its Independent Expert Panel on Aquaculture Science.

Canada’s chief science advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer, (pictured) in announcing the terms of reference for the expert panel stated that it is expected that approximately 6-10 experts may be needed to address the range of issues for discussion, including international experts.

Panel decision-making will be based on consensus.

The key objectives of the panel are to provide advice and recommendations to the Minister of Science and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans on:

  1. the appropriate use of scientific evidence in decisions concerning aquaculture; and
  2. the transparent and effective public communication of the underlying scientific evidence and rationale for policy and regulatory decisions related to impacts on the marine environment.

“Our government understands that Canadians have real concerns around aquaculture, said Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, when announcing the panel.

“We look forward to the recommendations of the panel led by the Chief Science Advisor on how science can be better applied to decision making and communicated to the public in support of sustainable aquaculture as we seek to remain a strong, science-based regulator of the aquaculture industry,” he said.

Canada’s seafood farmers have welcomed the new federal review of science-based decision-making in aquaculture.

“Aquaculture in Canada today is leading the way with science and the very highest environmental, food safety and social standards. Working in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, coastal communities and Canada’s Indigenous peoples, we have built a responsible and sustainable farmed seafood sector that we can all be very proud of,” said Timothy Kennedy, Executive Director of CAIA.

“Any efforts to increase engagement with Canadians and to develop trust and understanding of the science are welcomed.”

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization projects that aquaculture will account for two-thirds of the global food fish consumption by 2030.

According to the latest Statistics Canada data, Canadian seafood farmers produced $1.35 billion of fresh, nutritious seafood in 2016. Our farming and processing activities generated over $5 billion in economic activity, $2 billion in GDP, and more than 25,000 full-time jobs for Canadians earning an estimated $1.16 billion in wages in 2016, with significant Indigenous participation across the nation.

Over 40 First Nation and Indigenous communities are now directly or indirectly involved in farming seafood in Canada.

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