Fishery maintained contribution to country's economy - part 2

June 20, 1996

Despite the 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.

While the groundfish moratorium has hit employment levels hard, throughout groundfish crisis the landed and processed value of the fishery has remained stable at its historic high of around $3 billion according to the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters.

According to the Council, the umbrella group which represents Canada’s organized fish harvesters, the Canadian fishery has repositioned itself in the new global economy thanks largely to the marketing of shellfish products.

The fishery is also marketing new species and providing a range of top quality products at competitive prices around the world thereby shifting away from its previous high volume low value marketing strategy according to a Council policy paper released today.

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; particularly on the Pacific coast.

The Council said the government’s bureaucratically inspired fisheries policies favour powerful corporate interests and, if un-checked, will lead to concentration of ownership in the fishery.

“The partnership provisions of the new Fisheries Act, in particular, will allow the wealth generated by the fishery to be concentrated into fewer and fewer hands” according to Daniel Bernier the Council’s Executive Director.

“There is a real danger of undue concentration in the hands of large companies and large vessel owners at the expense of the small independent operators” Bernier said.

“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 to make room for the ideas of the men and women who earn their living on the water,” Bernier added.

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