Fish Prices Dominate Discussion At Fishers Meeting

Monday, May 14, 2007 at 15:33



This past weekend’s meeting of northern commercial fishers in Prince Albert was a lively affair.


Many voiced their displeasure to officials from the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation about poor prices in the industry.


Gordon Stomp of Air Ronge says he doesn’t see how officials expect fishers to make a living when prices of $0.30/lb. are commonplace.


He adds many fishers aren’t even bothering going out on the water.


An official with the corporation said returns should be higher in 2007 than past years, but admitted it will be hard for the FFMC to offer much more.


Throughout the meeting, corporation officials insisted their decisions are only based on what the market wants.


Meanwhile, the president of the FFMC says he doubts fishers would do better for themselves in the long-term than if they stuck with the corporation.


However, John Wood says he will listen to the results of a study being down on whether or not to break up the FFMC monopoly and offer dual-desk marketing.


Wood says marketing fish is a world-wide effort, and long-term markets are harder to attain than one might think.


Wood says he knows many fishers are particularly upset these days with the price of whitefish.


However, he notes it’s hard to raise prices overnight, because of the risk of having customers turn to other suppliers.


Wood also insists it will be up to the corporation to decide whether or not it begins dual-marketing — regardless of what the study finds.


On another note, Wood says fishers may have noticed the higher prices paid for small pickerel recently.


He says the demand comes from a new client of the FFMC, a 300-chain restaurant in the U.S. that is hungry for smaller portion sizes.