After temporarily suspending fur purchases, the North West Company has struck a deal with Fur Harvesters Auction to take trapper pelts.
The deal will see Northern/NorthMart stores act as an FHA agent, by continuing to accept furs from trappers and providing advances against the sales at auction.
“This new arrangement will give trappers an important option to get their fur to market,” Mark Downey, CEO of FHA said.
The North West Company said fur prices have dropped between 50 to 70 percent recently and the potential closure of another major auction house is making it difficult to profit.
North American Fur Auctions was granted creditor protection in October, after a lender pulled out. In a statement, the fur auction said it was trying for months to refinance.
La Ronge trapper Mark Studer predicts the challenges currently being faced will not negatively affect trapping long term.
“It won’t stay the same. But I believe stay close to the same because fur buyers in the north and Prince Albert area that do buy fur I’m sure are going to continue to buy fur only with a different company backing them,” Studer explained.
Studer admits that fur prices are down at the moment brought on by political tensions within the China and Russia markets.
“Recent changes to the fur industry resulted in a brief suspension of our fur buying, however this new arrangement will enable us to resume funding in the communities where we operate. We recognize the role we can play in supporting trappers and we are pleased that this arrangement will enable us to continue to serve in this capacity,” stated Alex Yeo, President, Canadian Retail, The North West Company.