Province To Request Fishers Be Freed From FFMC

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 14:50



Northern Saskatchewan commercial fishers received some welcome news over the weekend.


Two provincial cabinet ministers told delegates at the fishers’ annual meeting in Prince Albert that they would back them in the shift towards dual marketing.


The provincial government has scheduled a conference call today with federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea.


First Nations and Metis Relations Minister June Draude says they will demand fishers be let out of the 1969 agreement that gives the Winnipeg-based Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation exclusive marketing rights.


Enterprise and Innovation Minister Lyle Stewart says if Ottawa says “no” to that, the province will inform the federal government the fishers are opting out of the agreement on July 1st, 2012.


At the same time, he says the FFMC must still honour the terms of the original agreement.


The provincial government also says it is keen to talk with the fishers about establishing a fish processing plant in Prince Albert.


However, it first wants to see an operating plan on how the fish would be marketed.


The president of Saskatchewan Co-operative Fisheries Ltd., Albert Pahlke, says he’s encouraged by the developments.


Pahlke says he’s heard a lot of promises over the years — but he says, this time, fishers are actually getting some firm timelines on when to expect action.


A fisher from Reindeer Lake says dual marketing is the key to reviving a struggling industry.


Tommy Bird says many families in his community rely on fishing for income and teaching their children life skills.


Bird believes if dual marketing takes hold and a new fish processing plant is built, many northerners could return to the industry.