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Fisheries and Oceans Canada enhances services in Labrador

Press Release

From: Fisheries and Oceans Canada

August 12, 2019

Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador – In recognition of Labrador’s important contribution to the ocean-based economy, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is enhancing its presence in Labrador to better serve its clients. By re-profiling the existing DFO office in Happy Valley-Goose Bay into an Area office and establishing a new Area Director position as well as a number of other new positions, the Department will increase its service capacity to the Big Land and its people.

The new Labrador Area exemplifies DFO’s commitment to advancing reconciliation and pursuing a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples. It will enable DFO to work more closely with Inuit, Innu and NunatuKavut leaders, Indigenous organizations, stakeholders and all residents of Labrador on innovative approaches to program and service delivery.

The Area office will be responsible for field operations of the Small Craft Harbours Program, Fisheries Resource Management, and Indigenous Engagement and enhance the services already available in Labrador.

The Government of Canada is also investing in Labrador through the new Northern Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative. Under the program, the Innu Nation is receiving a $500,000 contribution to upgrade its commercial fishing vessel MV Atlantic Optimist. Repairs include decking replacement and upgrades to the vessel’s electronics and communications systems. Maintaining this vessel is key to ensuring Innu participation in the commercial fishery, and the upgrades will extend the life of the vessel by 15 years or more.

The Northern Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative was formally launched on May 24, 2019, following a two-year review of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Indigenous programs. The new program provides funding and support to Indigenous groups and communities for the development and diversification of Indigenous-owned communal commercial fishing enterprises and aquaculture operations.

Since 2017, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has invested more than $24 million in Labrador through Indigenous partnerships and infrastructure programs. Over $4.5 million is in direct partnership investments with Indigenous organizations while $20 million is being invested in Small Craft Harbours’ improvements in Indigenous communities.


“Labrador is an important economic centre within the province. With emerging oil and gas exploration and new and evolving fishing activities off the coast, increasing eco-tourism and cruise ship activities, as well as mega projects, we are at a critical juncture to invest and position Labrador for a prosperous future. Our investment today demonstrates that we are listening to Labradorians and our government understands that the timing for enhanced service delivery in Labrador is now.”

Member of Parliament for Labrador, Yvonne Jones

“Our investments in Labrador reflect our government’s commitment to a renewed relationship with Indigenous Peoples, one based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. These investments assist in supporting real economic growth opportunities and are reflective of how fisheries are an important driver of economic development in Labrador.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick facts

  • With the creation of this new Area, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has three administrative Areas in Newfoundland and Labrador: Eastern and Central Newfoundland; Southern and Western Newfoundland; and Labrador.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador has one of the largest Indigenous populations in Atlantic Canada, with approximately 13,000 Indigenous Canadians residing in Labrador with membership in one of three Indigenous groups: Innu Nation, the Labrador Inuit (Nunatsiavut Government), and NunatuKavut (NunatuKavut Community Council).
  • The population of Newfoundland and Labrador is approximately 529,000 (2017) with 27,500 people residing in Labrador. Approximately one third of Labrador’s population lives along its 7,886 km coastline, one third live in the Lake Melville region, and another third live in Labrador West.
  • Commercial fishing is a key economic contributor in Labrador. In 2018, 7,900 tonnes of fish were landed in Labrador with a commercial value of $39 million. There were 170 active enterprises operating 136 vessels. Most of these vessels are operated by inshore enterprises in the under 40-foot fleet category.
  • The Small Craft Harbours program provides important infrastructure for commercial fisheries and coastal Labrador communities. There are 12 small craft harbours operated by 10 harbour authorities.

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Jocelyn Lubczuk
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans
and the Canadian Coast Guard
[email protected]

Media Relations NL Region
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
[email protected]


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