OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 10, 2015) - The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Hunter Tootoo, today met with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) at a Special Chiefs Assembly. He spoke with elders, National Chief Bellegarde and members of the AFN executive and Chiefs-in-Assembly to outline key aspects of the Government of Canada's approach to fisheries, and his priorities going forward.

As the first Inuk Minister in the fisheries portfolio, Minister Tootoo knows first-hand the central role fisheries play in Indigenous life, the value of traditional knowledge, and the need to ensure that these fisheries remain balanced and sustainable.

He spoke about the intrinsic link between the environment and fisheries, and the negative effects of climate change in the Arctic. He reiterated his government's commitment to climate change, and committed to working closely with Environment and Climate Change Minister McKenna and Science Minister Duncan to examine the impact of climate change on marine ecosystems.

In his efforts to protect fish stocks and ocean health, the Minister pointed to his mandate to renew investments in science. He will be working to increase Canada's marine protected areas to five percent by 2017 and ten percent by 2020.

A review of the Fisheries Act is also a key priority for Minister Tootoo, and he indicated he will consult widely in good faith in the review process. The Fisheries Act review will be comprehensive and inclusive, and Minister Tootoo will be working with Cabinet colleagues to make sure this review aligns well with the reviews of other environmental processes. He also emphasized the need to respect the Duty to Consult with Indigenous People.

Minister Tootoo stated that better is possible in Canada's fisheries. Fishery elements are fundamental to treaty and other reconciliation processes, and Minister Tootoo is committed to advancing them as he supports Minister Bennett in her negotiations.

Quick Facts

  • Minister Hunter Tootoo is Canada's first Inuk fisheries Minister and the first Northerner to hold the portfolio.
  • This morning he addressed the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), a national advocacy organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada, which includes more than 900,000 people living in 634 First Nation communities and in cities and towns across the country.


"The Government of Canada is absolutely committed to a renewed nation to nation relationship with Canada's Indigenous peoples, and I was very pleased to be able to meet face to face with the Assembly of First Nations today to start the process of consultation, cooperation and partnership. Fisheries are central to Indigenous life, and I look forward to working together to ensure that our fisheries remain productive, prosperous, and above all sustainable."

- The Honourable Hunter Tootoo, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Related Product

- Speaking Notes for the Honourable Hunter Tootoo, P.C., M.P. Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard at the Assembly of First Nations: Special Chiefs Assembly - December 10, 2015


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