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Thirty-first meeting of the Seafood Value Chain Roundtable: Record of decision

February 6 to 7, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario

Key points

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) will begin engaging in Spring 2019 on the development of the proposed federal Aquaculture Act and the proposed General Aquaculture Regulations.
  • The numerous funding opportunities currently available to the fisheries and aquaculture sector were highlighted. Some sector associations are, where appropriate, exploring collaboration on their activities.
  • The SVCRT agreed that the matrix of issues and impediments presented by the Maximizing Value Working Group was representative of key industry issues and that a broader industry discussion on priorities and actions will be required as a next step.

Opening remarks

  • Marco Valicenti, Director General at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), was welcomed as the new interim government co-chair of the Seafood Value Chain Roundtable (SVCRT).
  • The co-chairs announced that, in keeping with VCRT policy, they will create a Steering Committee to provide advice and guidance on SVCRT matters.
    • Action Item 31-1: The co-chairs will inform the SVCRT of the membership of the Steering Committee, which will reflect the diversity of the sector.
  • A recap was provided of the January 21, 2019 All Chairs conference call, noting that labour and the VCRT revitalization process were key topics. The annual All Chairs meeting with federal Deputy Heads will take place on April 16, 2019. At the industry co-chairs' request, it will focus again on four key issues: market diversification, innovation, regulations, and labour.
    • Action Item 31-2: AAFC will circulate to the SVCRT information on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.
    • Action Item 31-3: AAFC will circulate to the SVCRT a summary of the April 16, 2019 All Chairs meeting after the meeting.
  • Regarding the VCRT revitalization process, AAFC noted this is an opportunity to consider how the roundtables can be used to greater effect. This topic will be discussed in more detail at the All Chairs meeting in April.

Improving sector competitiveness: Looking ahead

  • Information was provided about Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada's (ISED) Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), a program intended to support large-scale, disruptive approaches to automation and technology in the food sector.
    • Action Item 31-4: AAFC will circulate to the SVCRT a web link to ISED's SIF.
  • DFO provided an overview of the findings in their new annual report, Outlook to 2027, which provides market projections to 2027 made using DFO's new Seafood Market Simulation Model (SEASIM).
  • Industry was invited to provide feedback with regards to anomalies or requests for particular types of findings.
    • Action Item 31-5: AAFC and DFO will host a conference call for interested SVCRT members to further discuss the SEASIM and Outlook to 2027.
  • DFO has proposed the development of a new federal Aquaculture Act, which has received support from the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers. Consultations on the proposed Act will begin in Spring 2019.
  • As part of the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada's Regulatory Review, DFO is also pursuing the creation of the General Aquaculture Regulations (GAR), which would consolidate and modernize all aquaculture-specific regulatory provisions under the Fisheries Act into one set of regulations under the new Act.
  • An Aquaculture Technology Study, led and funded by DFO, Sustainable Development Technology Canada and the province of B.C., will analyze emerging salmon aquaculture production technologies, with focus on the B.C. operating environment. The study will identify opportunities for commercialization and adoption of the new technology in Canada, and is expected to be available in Spring 2019.

Improving sector competitiveness: Funding opportunities

  • DFO presented an overview of its new Fisheries and Aquaculture Clean Technology Adoption Program (FACTAP), which seeks to assist existing operators adopt market-ready clean technologies and practices in their day-to-day activities.
  • DFO provided an overview of the Atlantic Fisheries Fund (AFF) and findings from its first year of operation.
  • DFO also presented on the upcoming Quebec Fisheries Fund (QFF) and British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF), which will have a three pillar structure similar to the AFF (Science Partnerships, Innovation and Infrastructure). A formal launch of the QFF and BCSRIF and call for expressions of interest are anticipated in Spring 2019.
  • The Canadian Fish and Seafood Opportunities Fund (CFSOF) was launched December 5, 2018 and will run until March 31, 2024. Initial expressions of interest closed January 11, 2019. The CFSOF aims to advance a national approach to key cross-cutting market access issues and promote branding and recognition opportunities for the Canadian fish and seafood sector.
  • AAFC and DFO confirmed that they are working together to ensure that programming to support market development activities provides effective support to the fish and seafood sector and that projects funded under the CSFOF are complementary to AAFC's existing programming.

Improving sector competitiveness: Collaboration on marketing opportunities

  • Information was provided on the Canada2020 Special Project on a national food brand, which developed from the Economic Strategy Table's assertion that a well-established Canadian brand would increase the profile of food (and other sectors) and attract investment and workers.
  • Leaders from the Lobster Council of Canada, the Fisheries Council of Canada, the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, and the Atlantic Groundfish Council briefly presented the marketing objectives they hope to achieve through applications to the CFSOF. There has been some collaboration to link some of these plans, and there is openness to working together more.
  • In addition to targeting international markets, industry is interested in promoting a Canada fish and seafood brand domestically, to increase consumption of Canadian fish and seafood.
    • Action Item 31-6: The SVCRT will invite Linda Cornish of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) to present to the SVCRT on SNP's educational approach, to better understand their program and potential collaboration with the SNP.

Maximizing value from fisheries and aquaculture resources

  • Work continued on a multi-pronged strategy to maximize the value of Canada's fish and seafood resources. An updated matrix of issues and impediments, and corresponding proposed activities, was discussed.
  • The SVCRT agreed that the matrix was representative of the key issues of the industry and that a broader industry discussion on priorities and next steps is required.
    • Action Item 31-7: The Maximizing Value Working Group will lead on next steps as discussed at the February 2019 SVCRT meeting, including confirming sub-sector groupings and consulting more broadly with the seafood sector to confirm priorities.
    • Action Item 31-8: The Maximizing Value Working Group will discuss and identify leadership to implement the following action: jurisdictional scan overview of wild harvest and aquaculture best practices of the US, Iceland, Norway, etc.
    • Action Item 31-9: The Maximizing Value Working Group will discuss and identify leadership to implement the following action: broadly engage groups on coordination of market development/intelligence needs and opportunities provided by new trade agreements. Determine where Canada has a competitive advantage. Missed opportunities would need to be identified; product utilization needs to be explored.
    • Action Item 31-10: The Maximizing Value Working Group will discuss and identify leadership to implement the following action: work with AAFC to discuss how the seafood industry can further leverage the Canada Brand domestically and internationally.
    • Action Item 31-11: The Maximizing Value Working Group will discuss and identify leadership to implement the following action: industry representatives will further discuss opportunities to achieve desired outcomes related to improving labour issues.
    • Action Item 31-12: The Maximizing Value Working Group will review SVCRT discussions on other identified priorities from the matrix discussed on February 6, 2019 to determine next steps.

Maintaining/increasing access to international markets

  • A presentation from the Public Policy Forum discussed the need for Canada to diversify its export markets, with a focus on Asia. It was noted that a very high degree of reliance on a single market, as Canada has with the US, results in reduced power when negotiating trade terms.
  • Global Affairs Canada (GAC) provided updates on a number of trade items, including the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, which was signed in November 2018, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which entered into force on December 30, 2018.
    • Action Item 31-13: AAFC will circulate to the SVCRT details of GAC's promotional tour for the CPTPP, scheduled for Spring 2019.
  • Canada continues to hold exploratory discussions with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on a possible free trade agreement. Public consultations will be scheduled later in 2019.
  • GAC's European Trade Commissioner responsible for seafood shared helpful information for achieving success selling fish and seafood into the European market.

Market access challenges

  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) spoke about China's Fish List. Industry highlighted specific difficulties around Redfish.
  • GAC provided an update on live lobster imports to Norway, and genetically engineered (GE) salmon. Industry expressed concern around importing countries' demands that all salmon products be accompanied by proof of GE-free status.
  • DFO provided an update on stakeholder engagements underway in preparation for the US Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), which will be applied beginning in 2022. The next round of MMPA workshops will begin in Spring 2019, with a focus on gathering information for a progress report due to the US in July 2019.
    • Action Item 31-14: DFO will provide information on the aquaculture compliance approach to the US Marine Mammal Protection Act.
  • Engagements for a Gear Innovation Workshop in early 2020 are also being planned.
  • DFO presented on fisheries management mitigation measures planned for 2019 to reduce the risk of entanglement for the North Atlantic right whale. Static and dynamic measures will take effect April 28, 2019, or earlier, if a right whale is observed in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Update from Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Marine Conservation Targets

  • DFO presented an update on progress towards Canada's marine conservation target of 10%, which must be met by the end of 2020. As of June 30, 2018, Canada has conserved 7.9% of its marine and coastal areas.
  • DFO applied its science-based “other effective area-based conservation measures” guidance for the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD) “Protected Areas and Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures,” which was adopted at the CBD's 14th Conference of the Parties (COP 14) on November 17-29, 2018.
  • A national advisory panel on marine protected area (MPA) standards was established to guide the development of categories and protection standards for all federal MPAs. Its final report provides 13 recommendations, which are being reviewed and will form the basis for a proposed path forward, towards meeting the 10% target.
  • Industry expressed concern that the Government of Canada could decide on an overly ambitious conservation target beyond 2020.

Update from Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Global and Northern Affairs Bureau

  • DFO presented highlights of Canada's G7 presidency, the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi (November 26-28, 2018), the negotiation of a UN Treaty on Biodiversity in the High Seas, and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • France will hold the 2019 G7 presidency, and has made biodiversity preservation one of their priorities.


  • Dates for the next SVCRT meeting are to be determined.
    • Action Item 31-15: Topics for future SVCRT meeting(s):
      • Science-based decisions/policy making (for example, MPA targets)
      • Policies concerning by-catch and their impact on maximizing value
  • Roundtable members were reminded that they are invited to submit suggestions for potential agenda items and/or potential new roundtable members to AAFC for consideration by the co-chairs.

Annex A: Participants


  • Carey Bonnell, Head, Marine Institute School of Fisheries, Memorial University
  • Marco Valicenti, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

Industry members

  • Alexandra Leclerc, Metro Inc.
  • Andrew Lively, Cooke Aquaculture
  • Bob Verge, Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation
  • Brian Burke, Nunavut Fisheries Association & Qikiqtaaluk Corporation
  • Chris Sporer, Seafood Producers Association of BC
  • Christina Burridge, BC Seafood Alliance
  • Tiare Boyes for David Boyes, Arbegar Fishing Co. Ltd.
  • David Lomas, Connors Bros Clover Leaf Seafoods
  • Geoff Irvine, Lobster Council of Canada
  • Heather Mulock, Coldwater Lobster Association
  • Ian MacPherson, PEI Fishermen's Association Ltd.
  • Jean Lanteigne, Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters
  • Jennifer Woodland, Nuu-cha-nulth Seafood (by phone)
  • Jerry Amirault, Lobster Processors Association of NB and NS (by phone)
  • John Nishidate, Grand Hale Marine Products Co. Ltd.
  • Karl Sullivan, The Barry Group
  • Keith Sullivan, Fish, Food and Allied Workers
  • Kerry Cunningham, Sea Star Seafoods Ltd.
  • Mario Déraspe, Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters
  • Paul Lansbergen, Fisheries Council of Canada
  • Sarah Provencher, Quebec Fish Processors Association
  • Terry Ennis, Atlantic Aqua Farms (by phone)
  • Tim Kennedy, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance

Youth participants

  • Charlie Marshall, Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs
  • RJ Taylor, Cedar Crest Trout Farms & Ontario Aquaculture Association

Provincial government members

  • Michel Bélanger (QC)
  • Kimberly Watson (NB)
  • Larry Neilson, Michael Turner, Darah Gibson (BC) (by phone)
  • Geordie MacLachlan (NS)
  • Sean Barry (NL)

Federal government members

  • Ingrid Schenk, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
  • Katarina Batta, Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED)
  • Mia Garland-Keeling, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
  • Rick Flohr, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) (by phone)
  • Joanne Constantine, CFIA
  • Sylvie Millette LeDuc, AAFC

Guests / speakers

  • Bruce Chapman, Atlantic Groundfish Council
  • Edward Greenspon, Public Policy Forum
  • Marc Valois, Intersol Group Ltd.
  • Martin Gooch, Value Chain Management International
  • Michael Wylie, Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
  • Julie Ferguson-Ceniti, GAC
  • Darren Williams, DFO
  • Robert McDonald, DFO
  • Saba Khwaja, DFO
  • David Whorley, DFO
  • Freya Nales, DFO
  • Randy Jenkins, DFO
  • Ingrid Neilsen, DFO
  • Amber Lindstedt, DFO
  • Max Kaplan, DFO
  • Anne Dufresne, DFO (by phone)

Industry observers

  • Christina Juneau, Merinov (by phone)
  • Clarke Cross, Fisheries Council of Canada
  • Jessica McCormick, Fish, Food & Allied Workers

Federal government observers

  • Ben Gailor, Natural Resources Canada
  • Cheryl Donnelly, AAFC
  • Dawid Werminski, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance
  • Émilie de la Haye Duponsel, AAFC (by phone)
  • Gisele Magnusson, DFO
  • Holly McCoubrey, AAFC
  • Jean Lambert, AAFC (by phone)
  • Monica Ficker, DFO
  • Olivia Merritt, DFO
  • Rick Fiarchuk, AAFC
  • Robert McDonald, DFO


  • Events Secretariat, AAFC
  • Grace Chung, DFO
  • Inge Vander Horst, AAFC
  • Mark Shelford, DFO
  • Shane Campbell, AAFC
  • Shannon Bennett, AAFC
  • Warren Gould, AAFC
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