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September 13, 2006
(Fisheries and Aquaculture)

Government to review minimum processing requirements for all fish species

Tom Rideout, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, today announced that government is undertaking a review of the current minimum processing requirements for all fish species landed in Newfoundland and Labrador.

�All minimum processing requirements are intended to maximize the potential benefits of the fishery resource for the residents of this province from both an economic and employment perspective,� said Minister Rideout. �With the changing nature of the industry, increased global competition and changing consumer tastes, we are reviewing current requirements to ensure that this goal is being fully realized.�

A minimum processing requirement for a fish species is prescribed by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture and is attached to all fish processing licences for that species. The requirement identifies the minimum level of processing activity that must be carried out in the province. The objective is to ensure that the province�s fishery generates the maximum economic and employment benefits for the province.

�The global marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive,� said Minister Rideout. �As we move forward to address the challenges facing our fishing industry, we must be prepared to compete within this environment. If we are to compete successfully, we must develop a strong understanding of the global market demands, and ensure that our seafood products can most effectively accommodate those demands. To that end, this undertaking will involve a review of market demand for specific products and a subsequent determination if current policies reflect market preferences, industry competitiveness and resource opportunities.�

As part of the review of minimum processing requirements, Burke Consulting Inc. has been contracted to study the issue and present a report of findings back to government by the end of October. Government will then use the report to focus consultations with industry, with the ultimate outcome to be the validation and revision, as warranted, of the minimum processing policy.

�All industry stakeholders will have the opportunity to identify changes that will increase the economic benefits for our fishery and our province,� said the minister.

Minister Rideout added that minimum processing policy is a very significant aspect of provincial fisheries policies. �In June for example, government issued a licensing directive to capelin processors indicating that they must engage in full utilization practices,� said Minister Rideout. �Early indications are that this policy has had quite a positive impact. For instance, upwards of 12,000 tonnes of male capelin were discarded in 2005. In 2006, however, our preliminary results indicate that less than 100 tonnes were discarded. Clearly, we are pleased with this outcome, and substantial revenue and employment benefit have been achieved.�

�Based on this success,� continued the minister, �a review of all minimum processing requirements is certainly a worthwhile exercise.�

Minister Rideout says government continues to work diligently toward solutions to the challenges facing the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery and rural regions.

�Government will do anything it can to effect positive change in our most critical industry,� said the minister. �When it comes to employment creation within the fishery and within rural Newfoundland and Labrador, we know that every job we can create or protect counts. Government believes that solutions can be found, and we are taking advantage of every opportunity to find them.�

Media contact: Lori Lee Oates, ABC, Communications, (709) 729-3733, 690-8403,

2006 09 13                                  12:20 p.m.

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