Athabasca Fishers Face Wait Over Export Licence

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 at 14:58



It appears fishers on Lake Athabasca will have to wait another couple of months before finding out if they can export fish to the United States again.


Last March, the fishers sold several thousand kilograms of fish to a buyer in Seattle through an outfit called Athabasca Distributors, which was granted a rare export licence by the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation.


The fishers received more for their catch than they normally do, and they got all their money up front.


However, the FFMC says it didn’t receive the proper records and paperwork from Athabasca Distributors in time to grant a licence renewal for the start of this season.


The earliest that can happen now is February, when the FFMC’s board of directors will have their next meeting.


But Saskatchewan Commercial Fisheries president John Carriere says the FFMC should be able to approve the renewal application at any time. Carriere says those kinds of decisions are made by FFMC managers. He also says board members don’t need to wait until a quarterly meeting to approve the measure — they could simply rubber-stamp the proposal over the phone.


Meanwhile, a spokesman with Athabasca Distributors says the export licence renewal application covers a larger area than the previous one, and encompasses much of the Athabasca Basin — including Black Lake.