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CCFI to continue providing fisheries research

By Darcy MacRae

The Provincial Government will immediately provide $600,000 to the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) at the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University.

This funding will come from Budget 2009: Building on Our Strong Foundation. This places Newfoundland and Labrador at the forefront of fisheries and aquaculture research and development in Canada. It is being provided in response to a proposal from CCFI for its renewal and enhancement.

“Our government, like many others, was disappointed that the Government of Canada decided not to renew core funding for CCFI,” said Tom Hedderson, minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. “We knew that this nationally-recognized research centre had made a significant contribution to the management and development of Canadian fisheries and aquaculture industries. This is especially true here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Therefore, it was important to ensure the continuation of this organization for our ocean industries.”

The goal of both CCFI and the provincial government is to use this funding to create an applied fisheries and aquaculture research centre, in Newfoundland and Labrador. Under this new arrangement, CCFI will engage the expertise and facilities at Memorial University and the Marine Institute, to carry out its various research projects.

The centre has a particularly strong relationship with the university and will continue to be housed at the Marine Institute.

“CCFI would like to thank the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for their visionary and constructive approach to the continued development and diversification of the fishing and aquaculture industries through research,” said Gabe Gregory, chairman, CCFI.

“With this provincial government support, the centre and its industry and university partners will be embarking immediately on a program of science and technology to meet a variety of challenges in the industry. These include enhancing sustainability, improving safety, meeting changing market demands and a long list of exciting opportunities.”

CCFI was established in 1989 by Memorial University and the Marine Institute, with funding primarily from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. However, while it has been owned by the university and funded by governments, it has largely been directed by representatives from the province’s fishing and aquaculture industries.

Up to 46 per cent of the research and development project funding now comes from industry.

“This strong relationship with industry has contributed to the centre’s national reputation as the only publicly-funded research and development agency in all of Canada that is solely dedicated to fishing and aquaculture industries,” said Minister Hedderson. “It is particularly important to our province to ensure that this expertise is maintained and improved as our industry continues to work toward becoming more competitive in the global marketplace.”

CCFI’s ultimate goal is to establish funding from across the Atlantic region and ultimately throughout Canada. With core operating funding now secured from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, CCFI will be approaching other jurisdictions for support in maintaining and enhancing its work throughout Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Nunavut.

An area of increased focus for CCFI will be fisheries science and technology. This work will assist with resource quantification and analysis, in order to increase our knowledge of marine fish resources. It will also help the province to understand the impacts of fishing and predator interactions on the fishery, as well as the implications for the fishing industry and communities that depend on the industry.

This research will be of immense value to the provincial government as it works to enhance the contribution that marine resources can provide to the provincial economy. “Our government is pleased that we have been able to work with CCFI and our industry to develop a plan that will keep this research entity operating in the province,” said Minister Hedderson. “We look forward to seeing it grow and develop, to support our fishing and aquaculture industries into the future.”
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