Cyr Couturier, who has been involved in the Newfoundland aquaculture industry in several capacities since 1980, was recently elected to a second term as president of the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA).
For the next several years, he said he’s strongly committed to seeing the industry grow and prosper.
The provincial aquaculture industry set a record in 2013 in generating $197 million in production value, according to a news release issued on Feb. 26. Approximately 1,000 jobs, mostly in rural areas, are supported by aquaculture activity.
One of the big goals Couturier said NAIA has is to be more assertive in communicating good news about the industry.
“The Newfoundland aquaculture industry produces responsibly farmed seafood using the best science available,” he said. “We need to show the public, and the naysayers, that the industry is responsible and is contributing to sustainable seafood production based on sound scientific advice and knowledge.
“Some of the criticisms aimed at the industry relate to science, and many people just don’t know the facts.”
Couturier said all the aquaculture companies in the province have signed on to a bay management plan that will be implemented this year.
“This plan outlines, among other points, biosecurity details that all companies have agreed to in writing,” he said.
“(It) should reduce the risk of pathogens such as infectious salmon anemia (ISA) and certainly reduce its spread, if it does occur, from one area to another. What this basically means is that we should be able to produce more sustainable fish in a better environmental manner, moving forward.”
He added that the NAIA will continue to work with government and was a participant in the government’s 2013 consultation process about the future of the aquaculture industry.
The government heard from 122 participants from industry, academia, non-government organizations, aboriginal groups and municipalities.
A summary report, entitled “What We Heard,” was released online on Feb. 26 at www.fishaq.gov.nl.ca.
The information gathered will eventually lead to a provincial aquaculture strategic plan, Vision 2018 which will be finalized later this year.