Financial assistance to be granted will cover up to 50 per cent of production cost of stocked fish
The federal and Quebec governments are jointly investing more than $1 million to financially support Quebec fish farmers in the exceptional context created by COVID-19.
The closure of restaurants and the cessation of fishing activities have had a major impact on Quebec's fish farming industry, and this situation has led to a drop in the volume of fish purchased from fish farmers and generated a surplus of inventory, according to the federal government.
To address this, the federal government is putting in $612,000 while the provincial government is adding another $408,000 to make it possible to minimize the fish mortalities related to surpluses and to limit financial losses by supporting the stocking of public water bodies. 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).
“In total, the Quebec government has invested more than $850,000 in the fish farming industry since the beginning of the crisis,” said André Lamontagne, minister of agriculture, fisheries and food. “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.”
Previously, Quebec also provided a $450,000 initiative to reduce spring stocks of fish farming enterprises that supply the stocking market to support sport fishing.
Quebec has close to 70 fish farms and 650 tons of fish are produced for the stocking market and 450 tons for the food market. The total production value is estimated at $9.3 million.
“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,” said Pierre Dufour, minister of forests, wildlife and parks and minister responsible for the Abitibi Témiscamingue region and the Nord-du-Québec region.
“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."
In June, the federal government launched the $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund (EPF) for the agriculture sector as part of its actions to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of COVID-19.
British Columbia also provided funding for the Okanagan communities to help with the annual arrival of seasonal fruit pickers and to better protect workers’, employers’ and communities’ health and safety with respect to COVID-19.