FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government will partner with Fisheries and Oceans Canada on a $325-million Atlantic Fisheries Fund, announced today in Halifax.

“The fish and seafood sectors in New Brunswick are important economic drivers in our coastal and rural communities,” said deputy premier Stephen Horsman. “This fund will help our producers take full advantage of the new market opportunities presented by the ratification of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.”

Horsman spoke on behalf of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet.

The trade agreement provides increased access to European markets, where demand is high for premium fish and seafood products such as those exported by New Brunswick producers. Tariffs were believed to be the single biggest impediment to export growth; however these tariffs will be eliminated over the phase-in of the trade agreement.

The province’s fish and seafood exports total more than $1 billion annually. The elimination of tariffs for European markets is expected to have a significant positive impact on exports.

“Our government is committed to working with all partners to make Canada’s fish and seafood sector more innovative, productive and sustainable which means good middle-class jobs for Atlantic Canadians,” said Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard Minister Dominic LeBlanc. “The world is demanding sustainably sourced, high-quality fish and seafood products. The Atlantic Fisheries Fund will drive innovation in this sector, helping Canada meet these demands. This will boost the economy and increase employment opportunities for middle class Canadians in coastal communities.”

Horsman believes the establishment of the Atlantic Fisheries Fund is a positive step towards increasing regional co-operation and the participation of First Nations communities in the fish and seafood sectors.

“The newly signed Canada-European Trade Agreement represents a significant opportunity for our fish and seafood producers here in New Brunswick and in Atlantic Canada,” said Horsman. “The provincial government will collaborate with our federal partners to help our fish and seafood producers take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the agreement.”