Fishers Ready To Formally Apply For Dual Marketing

Monday, May 12, 2008 at 15:21



An official with the Saskatchewan Commercial Fishers’ Co-operative says fishers have decided to try and gain a ministerial exemption from the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation.


Merle Hewison says it was decided at the group’s annual meeting in Prince Albert this past weekend that fishers should follow one of the recommendations laid out in a report by an Ontario consulting firm.


The paper lays out three options Saskatchewan fishers might explore to allow them marketing of their own catch.


The first option would eliminate FFMC’s exclusive rights to trade and market fish — meaning fishers could sell fish through any channel they chose, but the FFMC would be required to buy any fish delivered to it.


The second option would see the FFMC turned over to fishers, and either run as a co-operative or privatized.


However, the George Morris report says both of these approaches would require changes to existing legislation — something officials with the SCFCFL say would take two years.


The third option would be a much more incremental change — one that would leave FFMC’s sales to international markets intact.


It would allow Saskatchewan fishers the chance to sell fish to other provinces.


According to the report, this option wouldn’t require a legislative change — only permission from the federal fisheries minister.


Option Three, which the fishers have chosen to pursue, calls for the fishers to write the minister for an exemption.


Secretary Merle Hewison says the fishers realize the province still has to sign off on it, but they want to give it a try.


Hewison says letters will be written to the two levels of government to start the process.


Meantime, two new directors were elected to the fishers board of directors — Gordon Stomp and Norman Clarke.


Albert Pahlke was elected as the co-operative’s new president.


He replaces Jonas Bird.