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Twenty-Ninth meeting of the Seafood Value Chain Roundtable: Record of decision

January 24 to 25, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario

Key decision points

  • Industry noted that the variety of funding options that federal, provincial and territorial governments have, or will soon make, available presents an opportunity to bring forward projects to advance the sector.
  • The Maximizing Value Working Group will develop next steps to advance areas of common interest, including market access, market intelligence, and improved utilization of by-catch and waste.
  • The Twenty-Ninth Seafood Value Chain Roundtable (SVCRT) will draft a submission for the Economic Strategy Table on how to accelerate growth in the fish and seafood sector over the next 10 to 15 years.
  • The Tools Development Working Group will develop a strategy for a phased approach for a Canadian seafood awareness campaign for the domestic market.

See Annex A for a full listing of decisions and Annex B for a list of participants.

Opening remarks

  • The Ocean Supercluster application will be concluded by early March 2018. If it is successful, an agenda item on this will be included for the next roundtable to learn more about the initiative and associated funding opportunities.
  • In response to a letter from the industry members of the SVCRT regarding foreign inspection audits, replies from Ministers MacAulay and LeBlanc confirmed that officials at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) are working together to address this market access concern.
  • Minister Bains replied to a letter from the industry members requesting fish and seafood representation on the new Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table (EST), confirming that two representatives from the fish and seafood sector had joined the EST.

Program updates and discussion

  • AAFC provided an overview of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the new policy framework that will replace Growing Forward 2 on April 1, 2018, with a $3 billion investment over five years by federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) governments. The fish and seafood sector is expected to continue to qualify for funding.
  • The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) discussed its funding programs to build a strong economy in the Atlantic region, in particular their Business Development Program and Atlantic Innovation Fund.
  • DFO presented the Fisheries and Aquaculture Clean Technology Adoption Program (FACTAP), a four year, $20 million program which was announced on December 18, 2017 and is part of the Government of Canada’s strategy to encourage industries to reduce their environmental impact. DFO also led an in-depth discussion on their new Canadian Fish and Seafood Program which is valued at $30 million over six years.
  • Natural Resources Canada presented their Clean Growth Hub that launched on January 18, 2018, which provides a single point of contact for industry to navigate clean technology programs and services across several federal departments.
  • Industry noted that the variety of funding options presents an opportunity for the sector to bring forward projects to advance the sector. Industry also asked about government support for accessing capital, and expressed concern about a lack of engagement from some provincial governments on FPT programming.
  • DFO offered to update its inventory of all FPT funding programs open to the Canadian fish and seafood sector and will share it with the SVCRT when it is ready.

Seafood Market Model and Medium Term Outlook

  • DFO presented its new Seafood Market Model and a first draft of their new annual publication, Canadian Fish and Seafood Outlook 2017.
  • Industry was very pleased with this tool and encouraged DFO to make it widely available as soon as possible. Industry also suggested ensuring linkages with academia, and with the European Union-based Prime Fish initiative.
  • It was agreed to strike a task group to provide advice and guidance to further refine these tools.

Maximizing Value Working Group

  • The Maximizing Value Working Group (MVWG) chair provided an overview of the report Extracting Maximum Value from Canada’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Resources and sought concurrence on next steps.
  • The report was well received, with agreement to focus on the areas of common interest: market access challenges, timely market intelligence, improved utilization of by-catch and waste; branding; certification.
  • It was suggested that the SVCRT consider adopting maximization of value as an official objective, and consider encouraging the federal government to do so as well.
  • Fragmentation was noted as a key impediment to the sector: of the industry (for example, by region and species) and of government oversight (for example, different departments for regulation, marketing, labour).
  • Uncertainty in the sector is a significant challenge to investment (for example, continued access to quota, threats to NAFTA, marine protection initiatives).
  • Industry members will write a letter to the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers to highlight future opportunities in the sector and suggest policy changes that could encourage investment in the sector.

Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table

  • AAFC provided a status update of the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table and invited SVCRT members to recommend actions that industry and government can take now to accelerate growth in the sector for the next 10 to 15 years, to meet the government’s goal of increasing Canada’s agricultural export value from its current $55 billion to $75 billion by 2025.
  • The Strategic Working Group agreed to lead on the development of a document for submission to the Economic Strategy Table.

Tools Development Working Group

  • The Tools Development Working Group (TDWG) conducted an inventory assessment of available marketing tools to educate Canadian consumers about Canadian fish and seafood products and found that not many exist.
  • The working group determined that common, overarching messaging would help the sector to "tell its story", and increase domestic sales.
  • The SVCRT agreed that the TDWG will collect (or commission if necessary) research related to the public perception of fish and seafood in Canada, and will develop a strategy for a phased approach for a Canadian seafood awareness campaign for the domestic market.

Updates from Global Affairs Canada

  • Global Affairs Canada (GAC) provided brief updates on the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement, and exploratory discussions with China on a potential free trade agreement.
  • Industry noted that fisheries outputs cannot be expanded, so to take advantage of these new market opportunities, the sector must focus on increasing the value of the product.
  • Live lobster exports to Norway and genetically engineered (GE) salmon were also discussed.
  • Industry expressed concern that South Korea is now requiring mandatory testing of all wild and farmed salmon imports for GE traits, and feels that the federal government has a responsibility to track GE salmon internally so that assurances can be provided to foreign markets.
  • The new EU ambassador to Canada will be invited to the next SVCRT meeting to discuss opportunities in the EU market.

Labour Market Information Study

  • Recommendations from the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters’ "Fisheries Labour Market Information Study" were provided, with updated (2015) statistical data. The final report should be available in February 2018.
  • Members agreed that automation will play an important role in the future of seafood processing.
  • Industry noted that attracting and maintaining skilled workers requires offering higher wages and the only way to feasibly do this is to increase the output value of the resource.
  • As future growth in the sector will rely heavily on the aquaculture sector, the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance will be provide an overview of the aquaculture sector at the next SVCRT meeting.

Working Group updates

  • The cross-sectoral United States (US) Genetically Modified (GM) Disclosure Working Group is considering the potential market access impact of a US GM labelling/disclosure rule. The US is expected to publish a draft rule by March 2018, with a final rule in place by July 2018.
  • The On-Board Labour Standards group continues to follow developments around a self-disclosure certification scheme for seafood suppliers. The Marine Stewardship Council is testing a draft template. Christina Burridge will provide a further update at the next roundtable meeting.
  • The Public Trust Steering Committee now has a National Manager in place, who will develop a work plan and a communications plan, to provide a coordinated approach for the agriculture and food sector to maintain and enhance its public trust.

Shell-on Shrimp Marketing in China

  • The Canadian Association of Prawn Producers presented the results of their very successful 10-year plan to increase sales to China, including social media marketing, e-commerce, and supply chain optimization.
  • Approaching each step in the right order was key: consumer education first, then retail promotion, then e-commerce promotion, and then integrated marketing.
  • Members were encouraged to view the "We are the Best" series of 52 videos exploring Canada’s culinary richness, a great example of online marketing.

Updates from Fisheries and Oceans Canada

  • US "Seafood Import Monitoring Program" (SIMP): Recent developments include the proposed lifting of stays for shrimp/abalone and a recently released proposed rule to establish a Commerce Trusted Trader Program.
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) will provide additional information on these developments to members as it becomes available, including an anticipated vote on the US Senate Appropriations Bill which includes language on the lifting of the shrimp/abalone stays.
  • DFO would welcome industry comments on the Commerce Trusted Trader Program, and feedback on any issues that arise in exports to the US under the newly enforced SIMP rules.
  • US "Marine Mammal Protection Act": Entry into force is stayed until January 1, 2022.
  • DFO is awaiting final publications of the US list of Foreign Fisheries and is exploring legislative and regulatory changes to align with the US "Marine Mammal Protection Act" to ensure future comparability findings meet US requirements.
  • It was noted that industry may also need to adopt new practices to ensure comparability with US requirements.
  • "Right whales": DFO updated the SVCRT on its recovery planning and management actions for North Atlantic right whales in Canadian waters, and the impact of those measures on fisheries.
  • DFO is currently reviewing its policies and practices regarding whale entanglements.
  • DFO and partners are looking at ways to reduce collision risk in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. A speaker on gear innovation may be invited to the next SVCRT meeting.

Updates from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) provided a brief update on the export of catfish to the US, on the Fish Species list maintained by China, and also highlighted foreign countries’ concerns with GE salmon.
  • Industry emphasized that GE salmon is not being produced in Canada.

Conclusion

  • The next SVCRT meeting will be held in June 2018, in Ottawa. Members are invited to submit suggestions for potential agenda items to AAFC for consideration by the co-chairs.

Annex A: Action Items

Meeting / Item # Action Items
29-1 Update the SVCRT on FAO progress to create a blue growth forum, and to have involvement from the Canadian fish and seafood industry. [Carried over from June 2017 action items.]
29-2 DFO will share an updated inventory of all Federal-Provincial-Territorial funding programs open to the Canadian fish and seafood sector, when it is available.
29-3 Create a task group to provide advice and guidance to DFO’s seafood market model and medium term outlook for the sector. Provide an update on the model at the next roundtable meeting.
29-4 The Maximizing Value Working Group (MVWG) will develop a list of proposed next steps based on a short list of items in the Gardner report. New members to the MVWG are welcome.
29-5

The Tools Development Working Group will:

  • collect (or commission if necessary) research related to the public perception of fish and seafood in Canada, to be used by both the TDWG and the Public Trust Steering Committee;
  • develop a strategy for a phased approach for a Canadian seafood awareness campaign for the domestic market, including identifying funding opportunities;
  • leverage the work of the Public Trust Steering Committee to benefit the development of a campaign to raise domestic awareness of Canadian fish and seafood.

Additional members to the TDWG are welcome.

29-6 SVCRT industry members will write a letter to the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) to discuss future opportunities, changes needed in the sector, available funding, and highlighting policies that are holding back much needed investments. The letter will focus on issues of common interest across the sector.
29-7 Global Affairs Canada will be asked to provide clarity on provisions related to the seafood sector under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). AAFC will share this information via email.
29-8 The SVCRT will nominate a second industry representative to participate as an observer on the Public Trust Steering Committee.
29-9 The Strategic Working Group will lead on the development of a document that summarizes the work of the SVCRT, which outlines the sector’s challenges, opportunities and potential actions to grow the sector, for submission to the Economic Strategy Table.
29-10 If the Ocean Supercluster proposal is approved, it will be included as a discussion item on the agenda for next SVCRT meeting.
29-11 Invite Western Economic Diversification Canada to the next SVCRT meeting, to present on programs that could support the Canadian fish and seafood sector.
29-12 Tim Kennedy will be invited to provide a strategic overview of the Canadian aquaculture industry at the next SVCRT meeting.
29-13 The new EU ambassador to Canada will be invited to the next SVCRT meeting, to discuss opportunities in the EU market.
29-14 Christina Burridge will be invited to provide an update on the Responsible Fishing Scheme at the next SVCRT meeting.
29-15 Biodiversity targets/protection will be included on the agenda for next SVCRT meeting.
29-16 Relevant specialists will be invited to discuss the state of knowledge on gear mitigation measures at the next SVCRT meeting.

Annex B: Participants

Co-Chairs

  • Carey Bonnell, Head, Marine Institute School of Fisheries, Memorial University
  • Nadia Bouffard, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)

Industry members

  • Adam Ross, High Liner Foods (by phone)
  • Alexandra Leclerc, Metro Inc.
  • Andrew Lively, Cooke Aquaculture
  • Bernie Berry, Coldwater Lobster Association
  • Bob Verge, Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation
  • Catherine Boyd, Clearwater Seafoods
  • Chris Curran, Ocean Choice International
  • Christina Burridge, BC Seafood Alliance
  • Dave Mergle, Ocean Quality North America
  • Eddie Campbell, Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation
  • Geoff Irvine, Lobster Council of Canada
  • John Sutcliffe for Jean Lanteigne, Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters
  • Jerry Amirault, Lobster Processors Association of New Brunswick & Nova Scotia (by phone)
  • John Nishidate, Grand Hale Marine Products
  • 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
  • Ron Schindler, Clover Leaf Seafoods
  • Terry Ennis, Atlantic Aqua Farms
  • Theresa Williams, Oban Ventures Ltd.
  • Tim Kennedy, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (Doug Blair on Day 2)

Youth participants

  • Amy Barry, The Barry Group
  • Ryan Ferguson, Bumble Bee Seafoods International

Provincial government members

  • Dave McGuire (Prince Edward Island)
  • Kimberly Watson / Alison Thomas (New Brunswick)
  • Larry Neilson / Allison Witter (British Columbia) (by phone)
  • Michelle Blinn (Nova Scotia)
  • Sean Barry (Newfoundland and Labrador)

Federal government members

  • Louis Lebouthillier, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
  • Soraya Cheung, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
  • Xavier Trégan, Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED)
  • Sylvie Millette LeDuc, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

Guests / speakers

  • Bruce Chapman, Canadian Association of Prawn Producers
  • Allison Christie, Natural Resources Canada
  • Barbara Best, DFO
  • Brett Gilchrist, DFO
  • Marco Valicenti, AAFC
  • Michael Leonard, DFO
  • Michael Wylie, Global Affairs Canada
  • Myrna Grahn, Public Trust Steering Committee
  • Richard Harry, Aboriginal Aquaculture Association
  • Rick Williams, Praxis Research & Consulting
  • Robert Elliott, DFO
  • Robert McDonald, DFO
  • Yuan-Kuen Wang, DFO

Industry observers

  • Derek Butler, Association of Seafood Producers
  • Olivier Lavigne-Lacroix for Jim Smolik, Cargill Ltd.
  • Tony Sangster, Fisheries Council of Canada

Federal government observers

  • Ben Gailor, GAC
  • Jean Lambert, AAFC
  • Olivia Merritt, DFO

Support

  • Events Secretariat, AAFC
  • Grace Chung, DFO
  • Ingrid Schenk, DFO
  • Inge Vander Horst, AAFC
  • Ron Gerold, AAFC
  • Shannon Bennett, AAFC
  • Warren Gould, AAFC
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