Athabasca Fishers Hoping to Sell Fish in the U.S.

Thursday, January 22, 2004 at 15:18



Some fishers on Lake Athabasca who plan to sell their fish in the U.S. are anxiously waiting for Northern Affairs to approve a fish freight subsidy.


The department is currently reviewing the application made by Athabasca Distributors, which plans to pack the fish in a facility in Debden before shipping it off to a firm in Seattle.


Normally, only the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation can market fish to the U.S., but the FFMC approved an export licence for Athabasca Distributors 3 years ago.


Now, the only thing that’s holding back the fish from being moved across the border is Northern Affairs’ review of the subsidy application.


But Northern Affairs minister Buckley Belanger insists the department is not throwing up roadblocks — it’s just making sure the fishers have a solid fish buyer.


Fisher Steve Powder says there are about 50 to 100 fishers on Lake Athabasca that are waiting for the freight subsidy to be approved.


He says the fishers are going this route because they feel they’ll get more money for their fish in the U.S. market.


However, Powder says without the freight subsidy in place, it wouldn’t make sense for the fishers to sell their fish to the U.S.