The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, André Lamontagne, the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, Pierre Dufour, as well as the federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, are announcing that the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec will join forces to financially support Quebec fish farmers in the exceptional context created by COVID-19.
Quebec fish farmers are an important cog in the wheel of food production. The closure of restaurants and the cessation of fishing activities have had a major impact on Quebec’s fish farming industry. This situation has led to a drop in the volume of fish purchased from fish farmers and generated a surplus of inventory. The financial contribution from the Quebec government and the federal government is in the order of $408,000 and $612,000 respectively. This financial support will therefore make it possible to minimize the fish mortalities related to these surpluses and to limit financial losses by supporting the stocking of public water bodies.
“We can see that many people have returned to fishing in towns and public waterways, for pleasure for some, but also for reasons of food security for others. Since they are not eligible for the food surplus recovery program, fish farmers in Quebec have proposed a “living pantry” project. Considering the extreme situation caused by COVID, I felt it was important to provide them with support comparable to the risk management programs available to agricultural producers.”
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“Our government is very pleased with the result of this intergovernmental collaboration, which has allowed for the implementation of an additional measure to the Initiative to reduce spring stocks for fish farming companies that supply the stocking market to support the sport fishery. This initiative was provided by the Government of Quebec with an envelope of $450,000 to support the fish farming industry. The financial assistance that will be granted will cover up to 50% of the production cost of stocked fish. In total, the Quebec government has invested more than $850,000 in the fish farming industry since the beginning of the crisis. Our government will also act as a facilitator to allow the stocking of volumes currently deemed to be in surplus in public water bodies. The regions of Quebec that rely on this industry can also count on our support.”
– André Lamontagne, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
“For fish farming companies, the months of May and June are a critical period during which annual sales of fish for the stocking market are made. This year, the uncertainty associated with the pandemic has brought with it a drop in demand. There is no doubt that the agreement we are announcing today will be a breath of fresh air for the entire sector and will help to ensure the long-term sustainability of the stocking services that are so important to the development of the fishery.”
– Pierre Dufour, Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Abitibi Témiscamingue Region and the Nord-du-Québec Region
The financial contributions from the Government of Quebec and the federal government are $408,000 and $612,000 respectively. The financial assistance from Quebec is shared between the ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation (MAPAQ) and the ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP).
This funding is an additional measure to the $450,000 initiative to reduce spring stocks of fish farming enterprises that supply the stocking market to support sport fishing, implemented by the Government of Quebec.
650 tons of fish are produced for the stocking market and 450 tons for the food market.
Total production value is estimated at $9.3 million.
Quebec has close to 70 fish farms.