COVEHEAD, PE, Oct. 17, 2022 /CNW/ - Fish harvesters play an essential role in their communities and local economies across Atlantic Canada and Eastern Quebec. The impacts of Hurricane Fiona have been immense, including gear loss and damage to small craft harbours. The Government of Canada is working with fish harvesters, harbour authorities and provincial governments to clean up the ocean and begin repairs to critical infrastructure, including small craft harbours.
Today, the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, confirmed $100 million in funding to support the immediate and urgent work currently being carried out on the recovery of lost fishing gear and repairs of small craft harbours damaged by Hurricane Fiona. This funding is part of the $300 million Hurricane Fiona Recovery Fund announced by Prime Minister Trudeau on October 4, 2022. The Fund is coordinated by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), which is working with other federal departments and agencies to address recovery needs.
The funding announced today, which will be administered bv Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), will help clean up, dredge, and begin the needed repairs and rebuilding of critical infrastructure. This will help ensure small craft harbours impacted by the storm remain operational for users and more resilient against future extreme weather, in addition to ensuring safe navigation so harvesters can get back on the water.
The funding will also provide a boost to DFO's Ghost Gear Fund, which supports concrete actions to prevent, retrieve and responsibly dispose of lost fishing gear. We recognize the limited time available for on-water activities before the arrival of winter conditions, as well as the limited harbour capacity due to damage. This fall, $1.5 million will be used to support immediate efforts to clean up gear. A new call for proposals to distribute additional funds will be launched in the coming weeks, which will be available to third parties to complete additional ghost gear efforts in 2023. We encourage harvesters to report their lost fishing gear as soon as possible so efforts can be made to return retrieved fishing gear to their owner and prioritize areas of highest gear loss.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada will continue to assess damage and losses and remains committed to supporting Atlantic Canada and Eastern Quebec through this difficult time. In addition, the Department is working to advance a long term capital asset management plan to ensure that infrastructure is built stronger, better, and is resilient against climate change. Today's announcement will have an important role in rebuilding the infrastructure relied upon in communities across the regions, helping harvesters recover their lost gear, and protecting the ocean ecosystem from the harmful effects of ghost gear.
"Canada's fisheries play a critical role in the livelihoods of people from Atlantic Canada and Eastern Quebec. This is a start towards rebuilding our harbours to withstand the impact of extreme weather, made worse by climate change, and recover lost fishing gear that poses continuing harm to the ocean ecosystem. We are focused on making sure funding from the Hurricane Fiona Recovery Fund flows fast so we can support communities in rebuilding this infrastructure to be climate resilient, clean up the ocean, and help get harvesters and their communities back on their feet."
The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
"In the wake of Hurricane Fiona, communities across our region are facing many challenges. But as Atlantic Canadians do during hard times, we're pulling together to help each other recover and rebuild. As always, ACOA will be there to help communities and businesses navigate the programs and supports available, including the Hurricane Fiona Recovery Fund."
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada
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