Fisheries and Aquaculture
June 17, 2009
Province Willing to Eliminate
Licensing Fees if Industry Reaches Agreement
The Provincial Government has advised representatives of the seafood
harvesting and processing sectors that it will forego processing licence
fees for the 2009 fishing season if the two groups can reach an
agreement on the price of shrimp for this year. This represents $1.7
million in value to the industry.
The Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture,
announced the reduction yesterday in a meeting with representatives of
the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW), Association of Seafood
Producers (ASP) and Seafood Producers of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The minister also announced that the department would be willing to
undertake a financial analysis of the industry and entertain industry
proposals on seafood marketing.
"Our priority as a government is fixing the major structural issues
in the fishing industry over the long-term," said Minister Hedderson.
"However, we also recognize that this is a difficult year for the
industry and our immediate concern has to be achieving a resumption of
the shrimp fishery during the 2009 season, to ensure people are working.
As we have already announced, our government will also be there for
workers who have trouble qualifying for Employment Insurance at the end
of the season, if necessary. As well, we maintain our commitment to fund
30 per cent of the cost of rationalizing the fishing industry over the
The department also told industry representatives that it is prepared
to work with the FFAW and processors to do a financial analysis to
document the problems that the harvesting and processing sectors are
experiencing during this very challenging time. The Provincial
Government is prepared to do a financial audit of these sectors over the
last five years to assess their viability. This is a necessary step to
determining the actions required to better position the industry to deal
with future challenges. As well, the Department of Fisheries and
Aquaculture continues to be open to proposals from industry on how to
better market the province�s seafood in the global marketplace.
"Unfortunately, the level of financial difficulty in the fishery has
not been well documented," said the minister. "We must verify the
situation before proceeding during this time of fiscal restraint.
However, we also understand that the fishery is a critical industry for
rural Newfoundland and Labrador and we are committed to further
understanding the structural issues within the industry."
The minister has also written the federal Minister Gail Shea to ask
that Fisheries and Oceans Canada forego licensing fees at the federal
level. The provincial department will also continue to pursue federal
participation in a restructuring and rationalization of the province�s
fishing industry, keeping in mind that the harvesting of seafood is a
federal area of jurisdiction.
"Our government put forward a vision of addressing the long-term
structural issues in the fishing industry with the Fishing Industry
Renewal Strategy," said Minister Hedderson. "Our vision continues to be
one of a fishery that includes larger and fewer vessels that fish for
longer periods throughout the year in all fleet sectors and processing
plants that employ workers for longer periods of time."
The Williams Government has tripled the budget for the Department of
Fisheries and Aquaculture since 2005 and has a total undertaking of up
to $140 million in relation to the Fishing Industry Renewal Strategy.
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Lori Lee Oates
Director of Communications
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
2009 06 17 1:30 p.m.