FREDERICTON, NEW BRUNSWICK--(Marketwire - Sept. 21, 2012) - The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today made the following statement regarding the Harper Government's commitment to Canada's traditional fisheries:
"As Canada's Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, I am proud to work for and with our fishermen - hard-working businesses who earn a living for their families by providing consumers across the globe with some of the best seafood money can buy.
"That is why I have been displeased - and quite frankly angered - by some of the inaccuracies that have surfaced over the past several months suggesting that the owner-operator and fleet separation policies would be eliminated."
"Let me be absolutely clear: the fleet separation and owner operator policies in Atlantic Canada will remain intact.
"The Harper Government is committed to jobs, growth and long-term prosperity - particularly in rural communities - and we recognize the value and importance of Canada's traditional fisheries.
"I believe there are ways to make the fishery function better while preserving the fleet separation and owner-operator policies so that the traditional fishery remains and is improved for future generations".
"The best solutions will be led and driven by fishermen and the fishing industry, not by Ottawa.
"We will continue to work with, advocate and deliver for fishermen to make sure the way we operate is helping them do business to address the challenges they face every day.
"The bottom line is that fishermen should be casting nets and gear, not getting bogged down by government bureaucracy.
"I am very proud of what our government has delivered for fishermen. Since 2006 we have:
- Repaired and improved well over a hundred small craft harbours in coastal communities across Canada;
- Reduced tax burden for fishermen by eliminating the tax liabilities when fishermen transfer assets and licences to family members;
- Opened new markets for Canadian seafood and aquaculture products and much more; and,
- Made unprecedented investments in the Canadian Coast Guard to keep our waterways secure.
"This industry is an integral part of many communities in Atlantic Canada and across the country and we will continue to recognize the importance of Canada's fisheries to our economy, to our way of life and to our communities."