Screenshot of PAGC Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte addressing the AFN Assembly. Photo courtesy of CPAC.com
The grand chief of the Prince Albert Grand Council brought concerns of northern Saskatchewan commercial fishers to the AFN special assembly in Ottawa Wednesday morning.
Chief Brian Hardlotte hopes the AFN executive can push the federal and provincial governments to work together to provide resources and support for northern fishers.
A few years ago, Saskatchewan commercial fishers removed themselves from the monopoly of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Company in order to find new buyers. Hardlotte says this transition has been difficult for Saskatchewan fishers because there was nothing set up for them.
“I often ask this question, in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, when the world and Canada needed our fish, the markets were there. Where are the markets now?” he asked.
Chief Hardlotte spoke about the Wollaston Lake Fish Processing Plant, which he praised as a pristine operation. However, the grand chief says they are struggling to find good markets for their fish.
Hardlotte says he is at the AFN assembly to seek support for the area’s commercial fishers.
“We still need that support for inland fishing,” he said. “Support means financial resources or even the federal government to work with the provincial government to help us do the work.”
While Hardlotte says governments have been mostly cooperative, he is hoping the AFN will partner with them to ensure commercial fishers in northern Saskatchewan can thrive in the industry.