Athabasca Fishers Take Advantage Of Export Licence

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 at 12:44



A pilot project that saw fishers on Lake Athabasca sell their fish to a buyer in the United States this past March apparently worked out pretty well for the fishers.


They marketed their fish through a Debden-based outfit called Athabasca Distributors, which in turn, sold the fish to a firm in Seattle.


Normally, Saskatchewan commercial fishers aren’t allowed to sell their catch south of the border, but the company is one of only two in Canada that has been granted an export licence by the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation.


Prince Albert Grand Council vice chief Don Deronger says the fishers received $1 per pound for many species of fish, when they would normally only receive about $0.40 a pound through the FFMC.


As well, unlike the FFMC’s payment system, the Athabasca fishers received all their money up front.


Unfortunately for the fishers, they were only able to capitalize on this opportunity in March, while their distributor was getting clearance from the province to receive the usual fish freight subsidy.


Northern Affairs spokesman Glenn McKenzie says the delay was necessary because there were some issues to sort out.


McKenzie says the government eventually granted the subsidy because it realized the Lake Athabasca fishery needed help.


Deronger hopes the pilot project can be extended, but notes the terms of the deal might have to be re-negotiated.