The MWF would like to thank Premier Heather Stefanson and Minister Scott Fielding, on following through with their commitment to eco-certify Manitoba’s fisheries. The MWF along with most commercial fishers, believe that Manitoba will have one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world once the eco certification process is complete. Fishing, both commercial and recreational, contributes close to 750 million dollars annually to our provincial economy (100 million commercial and 650 million recreational). World fish markets are now demanding eco-certified fisheries and we feel strongly that following through with this commitment, will create enormous positive outcomes in terms of jobs, economic spinoffs, and a sustainable fishery that thousands of Manitobans can cherish. The full Provincial Announcement has been provided below.
Minister Scott Fielding announced that the Manitoba government is investing $2.5 million to establish and implement programs that support the sustainability and certification of Manitoba’s fisheries in partnership with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Natural Resources and Northern Development. “Manitoba is looking forward to partnering with interested commercial fisheries and the International Institute for Sustainable Development to take action to protect our valuable commercial fisheries that contribute over $100 million to Manitoba’s economy each year,” said Fielding. “Our government is proactively responding to the growing global demand for certified sustainably sourced fish products by creating this new partnership with the IISD to offer support to the commercial fishing industry, which will enhance sustainability and advance progress towards achieving certification.”
The new Sustainable Fisheries and Certification Program will support commercial fisheries by funding activities including:
- enhancing the collection of fisheries data that is utilized to inform fisheries management decisions and support certification processes;
- improving the sustainability of fisheries such as license and quota buy-back programs;
- progressing towards securing the certification of Manitoba’s commercial fisheries such as providing financial supports for certification processes; and
- promoting sustainable fisheries certification in Manitoba or market-certified fish from Manitoba.
“The Sustainable Fisheries and Certification Program aligns with our commitment to support the sustainable development of the world’s natural resources,” said Dimple Roy, Director of Water Management, IISD.
This program, which builds on previous partnerships between the province and IISD, is expected to have a positive impact on local fisheries by improving the sustainability of fisheries, enhancing engagement with fishers, and enhancing capacity building for fisheries to participate in certification processes, noted the Minister.
“With sustainable fisheries certification quickly becoming a requirement to maintain access to markets around the world, the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation is very pleased with Manitoba’s commitment to support the sustainability and certification of commercial fisheries,” said Stan Lazar, president, Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation.
This new program builds on previous investments made to support commercial fisheries in Manitoba including:
- the recertification of the Waterhen Lake fishery and providing funding to support a full certification assessment of the Cedar Lake fishery;
- a commitment of $600,000 in additional funding to enhance annual provincial fisheries field programs;
- a $175,000 grant to enhance collection of lake whitefish data on Lake Winnipeg;
- and the recent release of two fish stock assessment reports for Lake Winnipegosis and Lake Manitoba and the commitment to continue engagement to discuss the sustainability and future management of these important commercial fisheries.
Previously, Natural Resource and Northern Development has collaborated with IISD to support the sustainability and certification of Manitoban fisheries with initiatives such as quota and license buy-back programs and activities that support Manitoba’s numerous Indigenous fisheries.:
Past Liberal Party Leadership in Advocating For Eco-Certification
The MWF would like to acknowledge the leadership role the Manitoba Liberal party (Dr. Jon Gerrard), played in advocating provincial leaders to eco-certify our province’s fisheries. In legislative proceedings dated back from October 2018, the Liberal party of Manitoba communicated the importance of eco-certification and creating sustainable fisheries in the province. Dr. Gerrard also clearly points out that the sauger and walleye stocks were in desperate need of intervention. Over the past few years, we have already seen the fishery rebounding due to regulation changes and significant financial investment by the current government. The MWF firmly believes that eco-certification is the path to a sustainable fishery that will benefit all Manitobans.
View Legislative Proceedings Video here: https://mwf.mb.ca/archives/680