Fishery maintained contribution to country's economy

June 20, 1996

Despite the catastrophic collapse of Atlantic groundfish stocks the Canadian fishery has maintained its historic contribution to the country’s economy according to information released today by Canada’s largest fisher organization.

According to the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters the landed and processed value of the fishery has remained stable at its historic high of around $3 billion throughout groundfish crisis.

According to the Council, the umbrella group which represents Canada’s organized fish harvesters, this remarkable achievement has been possible because the Canadian fishery has repositioned itself in the new global economy.

By fishing new species and by providing top quality fishery products at competitive prices around the world the Canadian fishery has shifted away from its previous high volume low value marketing strategy.

The Council, warned, however, that benefits of the fishing industry are in danger of being handed over to large corporations under the government’s current fisheries policy.

The Council said the government’s bureaucratically inspired fisheries policies favour powerful corporate interests and leading to concentration of ownership in the fishery.

According to the Council radical changes in the Fisheries Act and in the structure and operations of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) are now being implemented without the meaningful involvement of fish harvesters and these changes will shift the wealth generated by the fishery into fewer and fewer hands.

“If there is to be a future for Canada’s coastal communities the government must immediately re-direct its fisheries policy towards the interests of the independent professional fish harvesters,” according to Daniel Bernier the Council’s Executive Director.

“Canadian fisheries policy must be democratized to make room for the ideas of the men and women who earn their living on the water in order to provide a sustainable future for the country’s coastal communities,” Bernier said.

You can see the media release in its original format here.