Renewal process will be broad: minister

Terry Roberts
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FISHERY

Fisheries Minister Clyde Jack-man has committed to considering the views of all players, and not just the voices of the big and powerful, in the ongoing attempt to restructure the troubled industry.

He also challenged the perception that a reorganization of the fishery will hit rural areas especially hard.

There is a place in the fishery of the future for big and small, he said.

"What a lot of these small companies offer to rural Newfound-land is substantial and we have to make sure that is protected," Jackman said.

Fisheries Minister Clyde Jack-man has committed to considering the views of all players, and not just the voices of the big and powerful, in the ongoing attempt to restructure the troubled industry.

He also challenged the perception that a reorganization of the fishery will hit rural areas especially hard.

There is a place in the fishery of the future for big and small, he said.

"What a lot of these small companies offer to rural Newfound-land is substantial and we have to make sure that is protected," Jackman said.

Jackman made the comment following a meeting Tuesday with representatives of the Seafood Producers of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Jackman agreed to the meeting after the group raised concerns they were not invited to be a part of a memorandum of understanding signed last summer between the provincial government, the fisheries union and the Assoc-iation of Seafood Producers (ASP).

The ASP represents the bulk of the crab and shrimp processors, and therefore has a higher profile. Its members also include some of the biggest players in the seafood industry.

The Seafood Producers, meanwhile, represents smaller companies with a focus on other species such as lobster and pelagics, and represents roughly 4,000 workers in about 25 processing facilities. They are located in places such as Burnt Islands, Woody Point, Rocky Harbour, Benoit's Cove, Codroy Valley, Parker's Cove and St. Mary's Bay.

On Friday, the union and the ASP submitted proposals to Jack-man about ways to rationalize the fishery, with an emphasis on addressing the overcapacity of both the harvesting and processing sectors, and challenges on the marketing side.

These proposals are now in the hands of a special steering committee, and Jackman expects to again meet with the two groups in the coming days.

The executive director of the Seafood Producers, George Joyce, is concerned his group has not been consulted.

"Small processors have been left out," he said.

Joyce said the minister offered reassurances their voices will be heard.

"What we're saying is there are a lot more species out there that rural areas depend on. Just recognizing one part of the industry will have an adverse impact on the other parts of the industry," he said.

Jackman said it was not an intentional snub, and government was simply responding to an initiative of the union and the ASP.

Jackman said he will advise the Seafood Producers "within a week" on how they will be involved in the restructuring process.

"If we're going to take a look at somehow reorganizing ... the fishery, all groups and their opinions and presentations have to be considered," Jackman said, adding there are some tough decisions to be made, and he expects some heated debates along the way.

He said the intent is to stabilize the industry over a period of 10 to 15 years.

troberts@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Seafood Producers of Newfoundland and Labrador, ASP

Geographic location: Newfound, Burnt Islands, Woody Point Codroy Valley

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Recent comments

  • Maurice E.
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    There are those who suggest that by rationalizing the processing sector, plants that now provide only 20 weeks work per year would then be able to provide 40 weeks work.

    But from 1990 to 2005 the number of plants in Newfoundland and Labrador were cut from just over 200 to just over 100. Yet the facts show that while during that time the average earned income for a plant worker did in fact change --- it did not double.

    In fact it did not even go up. It moved in the other direction. While the number of plants were cut in half, the average Earned Income for plant workers went down by 7%. Plant workers on average earned 7% less in 2005 than they did in 1990.

    While on average $100 million less per year is now going into our coastal fishing communities due to less (not more) plant worker earnings, over that same time period the average Production Value per plant went up from $3 million per plant in 1990 to $7.8 million per plant in 2005. What did go up was not the earnings of the plant workers. What went up was the average Production Value per processing plant (the potential profit margin). So who benefits from rationalization? Not the plant workers, not the communities, not rural Newfoundland and Labrador --- then who?

  • Sea Dog
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    the fishery in nfld & lab , is now , was , and always will be, nothing short of one huge subsity programme , it never stops , gimmy ,gimmy , gimmy more , there will never be any end to it , it goes on and on, subsidies , rebates , bounty programmes , gear replacement programmes , storm damage , ice damage and oh yes some sort of a compensation deal because the cat was sick , and an early retirement package ( not for the cat ) come on , give me a break , if it cant float on its own for god sake let it sink , enough is enough , is anyone else as sick of this as i am ??

  • Maurice E.
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    There are those who suggest that by rationalizing the processing sector, plants that now provide only 20 weeks work per year would then be able to provide 40 weeks work.

    But from 1990 to 2005 the number of plants in Newfoundland and Labrador were cut from just over 200 to just over 100. Yet the facts show that while during that time the average earned income for a plant worker did in fact change --- it did not double.

    In fact it did not even go up. It moved in the other direction. While the number of plants were cut in half, the average Earned Income for plant workers went down by 7%. Plant workers on average earned 7% less in 2005 than they did in 1990.

    While on average $100 million less per year is now going into our coastal fishing communities due to less (not more) plant worker earnings, over that same time period the average Production Value per plant went up from $3 million per plant in 1990 to $7.8 million per plant in 2005. What did go up was not the earnings of the plant workers. What went up was the average Production Value per processing plant (the potential profit margin). So who benefits from rationalization? Not the plant workers, not the communities, not rural Newfoundland and Labrador --- then who?

  • Sea Dog
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    the fishery in nfld & lab , is now , was , and always will be, nothing short of one huge subsity programme , it never stops , gimmy ,gimmy , gimmy more , there will never be any end to it , it goes on and on, subsidies , rebates , bounty programmes , gear replacement programmes , storm damage , ice damage and oh yes some sort of a compensation deal because the cat was sick , and an early retirement package ( not for the cat ) come on , give me a break , if it cant float on its own for god sake let it sink , enough is enough , is anyone else as sick of this as i am ??