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March 31, 2006
(Executive Council)


Premier expresses government�s extreme disappointment with Costco decision

Premier Danny Williams says government is extremely disappointed that Costco has decided to remove Omega-3 seal oil capsules from their stores.

�I find it incredible that an international company of Costco�s reputation would make such a serious decision without giving us the courtesy of hearing our views, or those of the industry,� the Premier said. �I urge the company to reconsider this decision that has such serious implications for the sealing industry and the communities and individuals who depend on it, or at least put the decision on pause until we have an opportunity to inform them about the seal fishery. �

Premier Williams said Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Tom Rideout is requesting a meeting with Costco to ensure company decision-makers are fully informed about all aspects of the humane, environmentally-sustainable seal fishery and its economic significance to rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

�Clearly, Costco is making decisions without full and complete information and without considering the impact of that decision on a province in which they are doing business,� the Premier said, adding that it is not only government that is extremely disappointed that the company decided to remove a locally-produced product from its shelves. �Already we have heard from many Costco customers who say they are so upset with the company�s decision to remove a local product from its shelves that they will no longer do business with the company unless the decision is reversed.�  The Premier encourages shoppers to seriously consider whether they will support a company that does not support Newfoundland and Labrador.

Seal oil capsules are an excellent source of Omega-3 that can result in health benefits.  For example, preliminary research on the anti-inflammatory effect of harp seal oil supplements in patients suffering from arthritis has shown positive results. Some of the other health benefits linked to Omega-3 oil include improvements in Type II diabetes, reduced blood pressure and improvements in symptoms of migraine headaches.

Research has increased awareness of the health benefits of seal oil. This has led the industry away from bulk industrial oil production into value-added seal oil encapsulation, and is one of several ongoing product development and commercialization efforts to diversify the industry. These initiatives have the potential to lead to the creation of new jobs in the seal processing sector.

Media contact: Elizabeth Matthews, Office of the Premier, (709) 729-3960, 690-5500,

2006 03 31                                                        4:50 p.m.

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