Blue Economy sessions kick off with roundtable marathon

·2 min read

Canada’s fisheries minister has wrapped up her first week of roundtable discussions with stakeholders on the development of Canada’s first Blue Economy Strategy.

The strategy is intended to position the country as a global leader in ocean-based economies that create middle-class jobs while pushing for healthier oceans and sustainable ocean industries.

“What we heard this week was that Canadians agree — our Blue Economy has so much potential for growth. We’re going to keep working with Indigenous peoples, industry, environmentalists and more to create a strategy that will ensure we’re sustainably harnessing our ocean resources to their full potential. Canadians want a thriving Blue Economy that is built on protection, production, prosperity, and that’s exactly what we’re striving toward,” Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Bernadette Jordan said.

Last week Jordan held nine roundtables with leaders in key sectors including the fisheries and aquaculture, academia and women leaders in ocean sectors.

Jordan said she heard about the importance of B.C.’s fisheries and coastal tourism from the Pacific region, the level of importance of having reliable, timely, and accessible data on the oceans from ocean scientists and professors and the need for collaboration between communities, First Nations and industry to produce a strategy that considers economic, social and environmental factors.

Topics leading Jordan’s public engagement include products and technologies to foster a sustainable commercial fishing industry, offshore renewable energy, transportation, sustainable tourism, international trade and new green technologies in ocean-related fields.

As the roundtable discussions continue, Jordan said engagement with Indigenous peoples will be critical in the strategy’s development, as they bring vast knowledge and valuable experience in their ancient, close relationship with the oceans.

Developing the strategy will be a major undertaking of multiple ministries, including transport, economic development, science and industry, Crown-Indigenous relations and international trade, among others.

Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View