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The appointment of South Shore-St. Margaret’s Member of Parliament Bernadette Jordan as the new federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard has industry representatives in Nova Scotia optimistic.

“I’m just as happy as I can be,” said Kevin Ross, president of Brazil Rock 33/34 fishermen’s association. “I’ve worked a lot with her in the last three years. She’s gotten me meetings with both Dominic LeBlanc and Jonathan Wilkinson. She’s been at our meetings. She’s not somebody you’ve got to bring up to date. She knows everything that’s going on in southwest Nova,” including marine protected area (MPA) concerns, small craft harbour needs and native issues, he noted.

Colin Sproul, president of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association (BFIFA) said his association “is very pleased” with the appointment.

“The BFIFA already has a good history of working cooperatively with Minister Jordan and we look forward to building on it.”

Bernie Berry, president of the Coldwater Lobster Association said it’s a good thing whenever you can get a federal cabinet minister from the local area appointed, be it the fisheries portfolio or otherwise.

“I think it’s a bonus,” he said. “Hopefully it bodes well for the industry on the east coast.”

Jordan is the second federal minister from western Nova Scotia to be appointed to the fisheries portfolio this century and the first female. From 2002 to 2003, West Nova MP Robert Thibault held the position.

The Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance also says it is pleased that Bernadette Jordan has been appointed Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.  

“Minister Jordan comes from one of Canada’s busiest fisheries ridings. While there are challenging issues, both domestic and international, facing the Canadian seafood sector, we have confidence that under Minister Jordan’s leadership, seafood will continue to be Nova Scotia’s leading industry. Her recent experience as Minister of Rural Economic Development will serve her well in understanding the issues facing our coastal and rural communities,” said executive director Leo Muise.

“The Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance is prepared to assist the Minister by providing advice and support when appropriate. Working with the Minister and her staff, we hope to safeguard the stability and profitability of the seafood sector in Nova Scotia.”

Since first being elected in 2015, Minister Jordan also served on the standing committee on Fisheries and Oceans for two and half years, holding the position of chair for five months in 2018, during which time she initiated a study that assessed the current state of small craft harbours in the country and examined emerging and recurring challenges.

The report, entitled Ensuring the Sustainability of the Small Craft Harbours Program, was tabled in Parliament on Feb. 28, 2019.