CHARLOTTETOWN (GNB) – The fisheries ministers of the four Atlantic provinces have agreed to collaborate to help the seafood industry deal with the impact of COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus).

Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Ross Wetmore; Prince Edward Island Fisheries and Communities Minister Jamie Fox; Newfoundland and Labrador Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Gerry Byrne; and Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell spoke on Wednesday, March 18, and agreed to hold regular conference calls until the period of concern over COVID-19 has subsided.

“It is imperative that we work together to support Atlantic Canada’s seafood industry in these difficult times,” said Wetmore. “Our harvesters, aquaculture producers and seafood processors have always been ready to adapt to maintain their livelihood for current and future generations, and this is no exception. We will continue to focus efforts to support this resilient industry and to ensure it remains a sustainable way of life for rural, coastal and Aboriginal communities.”

All four ministers underlined the economic importance of the fishing and aquaculture sectors to their respective provinces. The two sectors provide billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to the region.

They also discussed the close relationship between the four Atlantic provinces and agreed to work with the federal government to find mechanisms to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on the two sectors.