Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has chosen Vancouver Liberal Member of Parliament Joyce Murray as the country's new Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard. Murray replaces outgoing minister Bernadette Jordan.
Timothy Kennedy, president of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA), welcomed Murray to the role and said his organization's members "express their enthusiasm to work together to realize the opportunities for Canada through sector development."
Murray replaced Jordan following an election where several members of Trudeau's cabinet lost their seats, requiring the switch. Canada's pundits are attributing the loss to Jordan's handling of Indigenous lobster fishing rights in Nova Scotia.
Grieg Seafood also warmly welcomed the minister following the announcement Tuesday.
“On behalf of myself and Grieg Seafood, I would like to extend a warm welcome to Minister Murray and her team," said Grieg Seafood BC Managing Director Rocky Boschman. "We look forward to reaching out to both her and her staff in the coming weeks to extend these sentiments directly, as well as extend an invitation to come and view our operations and learn more about Grieg, our employees and our fish - as well as our commitment to continuous improvement, innovation and the adaption of technology into our operations."
Discovery Islands decision remains on the line
Canada's salmon farming industry has been largely opposed to Jordan, who has been leading the phaseout of netpen salmon farming in British Columbia's Discovery Islands by next June.
In a judicial review that is still being decided by a Canada Federal Court, lawyers for Mowi, Grieg and Cermaq all testified that the minister's Discovery Islands decision was arbitrary and unfair. They are asking the court to require the minister to provide more justification for her decision.
The change in a fisheries minister is a big deal for the companies. Mowi, for example, has 30 percent of its British Columbia production based in Discovery Islands, and Cermaq has 20 percent. Grieg also has one operation in the province that is being impacted.
Lawyers representing the fisheries minister in the judicial review confirmed the new minister could reverse the course of the outgoing minister's decision on Discovery Islands if she wanted to, but she is not required to under Canada law.
They have reaffirmed the outgoing minister's decision was based on consultations with seven First Nations with territorial and Indigenous rights in Discovery Islands where the salmon farmers operate.
The possibility appears slim that Murray will reverse course in Discovery Islands. She had been a staunch supporter of Jordan and the decision prior to being elected.
While Murray has not recently commented on her position on Discovery Islands or netpen salmon farming in British Columbia, she supported Jordan's decision, which was made in December, 2020.
Boschman's Grieg said the company looks forward "to working with the Minister, identifying areas of shared concern and opportunity, and providing information on Grieg’s operations, priorities and values and how we can support her in achieving her mandate.”
Murray was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra in 2008. She has previously served as Minister of Digital Government and as President of the Treasury Board.
Murray is interested in environmental sustainability, and in making federal government operations more environmentally friendly and efficient, according to the government of Canada's website.
While CAIA's Kennedy did not comment on the Discovery Islands issue in his announcement welcoming the new minister, he did note that "building Canada’s blue economy is a path to combatting climate change, achieving food security, Indigenous reconciliation and sustainable jobs – especially in rural, coastal and Indigenous communities."