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Fisheries and Aquaculture

July 15, 2010

Minister Provides Update on Fishing Industry Memorandum of Understanding

The Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, today provided an update on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) process. The MOU was signed on July 11, 2009, by the Fish, Food and Allied Workers, Association of Seafood Producers and Provincial Government. The Federal Government has been participating in the process in an ex-officio capacity.

"Our province's fishing industry is overcapitalized and having great difficulty in light of the global economic challenges of the last two years," said Minister Jackman. "However, there are structural issues within the industry and we can see the impact of those annually. We will continue to have them until there is a new industry structure in place. The MOU process was designed to provide proposals from the participants for addressing these issues. It is important that the parties develop joint proposals that offer reasonable and practical solutions which will encourage Federal Government support of the restructuring process."

The parties to the MOU have been working together to develop proposals through working groups and a steering committee that is chaired by Professor Tom Clift of Memorial University's School of Business. There are working groups on harvesting, processing and seafood marketing.

Financial assessments of the harvesting and processing sectors have been carried out. This information is being used to assist the harvesting and processing sector working groups in considering options for restructuring of the industry. The working groups have been extremely active in recent weeks to ensure timely completion of their analysis.

The marketing working group is exploring options for more collaborative sales and marketing efforts. A workshop is planned to help the working group identify key issues, requirements and criteria to establish seafood marketing entities in the province's fishing industry. International seafood marketing experts from other jurisdictions will be invited to share their experiences and perspectives on seafood sales consortiums. This will include representatives from Iceland, Norway and Alaska.

The working groups will finalize their analysis over the next month. Their work will then be presented to the steering committee. The committee will develop recommendations to submit to the minister through a report that will be completed by Professor Clift, and submitted in September.

"I look forward to receiving the report from the steering committee," said Minister Jackman. "The report should reflect a collective, unified response on behalf of the participants in the MOU process. We are seeking a series of recommendations that the Federal Government will seriously consider and support. It is extremely important that we now start working toward achieving appropriate solutions for the 2011 fishery."

The recommendations of the steering committee will be used to provide recommendations to the Federal Government for addressing areas of restructuring that fall within federal jurisdiction.

The MOU was developed to provide a plan to address the long-term structural issues in the province's fishing industry. It has been building on the work of the Fishing Industry Renewal Strategy (FIRS) that was developed jointly with the Government of Canada and announced in 2007. The Provincial Government committed $800,000 toward the cost of the MOU process. As well, $140 million has been committed to the implementation of FIRS.

"A great deal of work has been done through the MOU process and the Fishing Industry Renewal Strategy," said Minister Jackman. "Our government has invested a lot in the fishing industry and a number of new policies have been put in place to improve and support the industry. We will continue to work with the MOU partners to achieve solutions for appropriate restructuring of the fishery in this province. Our government will also continue to press the Federal Government for appropriate investment to address structural issues that fall within their area of jurisdiction."

Minister Jackman will meet with the Honourable Gail Shea, Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, in Prince Edward Island on Friday, July 16. The ministers will discuss a number of items including the province's recent announcement on fisheries science and the restructuring of the Newfoundland and Labrador fishing industry.

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Media contact:

Lori Lee Oates
Director of Communications
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
709-729-3733, 690-8403

2010 07 15                                                    9:15 a.m.

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