Province prepared to grant OCI yellowtail exemption

Paul Herridge
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Fishery

Fisheries Minister Clyde Jackman has agreed to grant Ocean Choice International (OCI) an exemption in the size of un-processed yellowtail that can be shipped outside the province.

But, the exemption comes with the stipulation the company must first agree to some conditions. The minister was confident Thursday the company would agree to the stipulations.

Clyde Jackman

Marystown -

Fisheries Minister Clyde Jackman has agreed to grant Ocean Choice International (OCI) an exemption in the size of un-processed yellowtail that can be shipped outside the province.

But, the exemption comes with the stipulation the company must first agree to some conditions. The minister was confident Thursday the company would agree to the stipulations.

"They've asked for the exemption, but I don't think they would have expected that we would have just said 'yes' without any conditions.

"We want to ensure they're giving their best effort there and the bottom line is, in their presentation to me, they seem genuine in wanting to make Marystown a viable operation."

Ocean Choice requested the exemption last month saying current regulations requiring small yellowtail - the main species pro-cessed at the company's Marystown facility - weighing 380 grams or more must be processed in this province was unfeasible.

The company has left a sizeable portion of its yellowtail quota in the water for the past several years, because it wasn't feasible to catch and process the fish.

If OCI agrees with the conditions, the exemption will allow the company to catch the unused quota and now ship out fish up to 450 grams whole and process the larger, higher profit-yielding yellowtail in Marystown.

In making the request, the company suggested the change would allow it to employ roughly 250 workers at the fish plant for 35 weeks.

Without the adjustment, OCI was considering a plan that included fewer workers and less weeks. Another proposed option suggested not operating at all this year.

Jackman indicated a financial analysis of the company's records confirming Ocean Choice was losing money on an annual basis at its Marystown operation was completed before a decision was made.

The minister is granting the exemption for one year only, at the end of which another financial review will determine whether the situation has improved.

Secondly, to allay workers concerns the company may ship out fish larger than 450 grams, Jackman wants the company to agree to unannounced inspections at the facility, for which he said reports would be made available to the employees.

Finally, he said OCI must immediately modify its harvesting plan to catch as much of the unused quota as possible.

Jackman, who had met with employees during a meeting for the membership of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union in Marystown last month, indicated workers at the plant also expressed some concern about the ability to catch the additional fish. He said he received reassurances from the union's Deep Sea Sector that shouldn't be an issue.

"We'll wait and see, but I would fully expect that the company will be in agreement with this. It's in their best interests to get at this and prove that this can work."

The minister pledged government remains receptive to working with the company to find other ways to improve the plant.

"If there's ways that they can make that operation more efficient through technology or some other means, then we are totally open to supporting them in that. So we, as a government, want this operation to be as strong as it can."

Organizations: Allied Workers union

Geographic location: Marystown

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Lonely last Turbot
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    As bad as the federal government may be in managing the resource, the province always finds a way to do even worse.
    Imagine if the crowd at Confed Bldg were allowed to assign quotas or set TAC levels. It'd be all over then.

  • robert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    First, the province forces the break up of FPI by not allowing them to export these same fish - a breakup that involved turning over a company built on public money to a private company. Now, they have a compete about face on their export policy and they grant permission to OCI who had bought FPI's assets well below their worth..
    Take a look at the contibutions from the 2007 election - OCI and their owners gave generously to the PC party. It looks as if they are getting those contributions back with interest.
    some things never change.
    So much for ''no more giveaways''.

  • fintip
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    As any good accountant will attest, it is not terribly difficult to shift revenues and expenses among multiple production centres so as to create the appearance of a loss in any one facility. That may or may not be at play in this particular situation. What is certain is this. There is almost no fish processing activity in this province which could not be carried out more cheaply and competitively in locations outside Canada - in countries like China where worker safety, food hygiene and other standards are much lower. A gross oversight by Newfoundland's fathers of confederation has left this province will very little influence in the conduct of our most important industry. Mr. Jackman risks losing the little influence we still have when he acquiesces to the export of raw material for processing elsewhere. OCI was not the first and it won't be the last to poor-mouth its way to an exemption from local processing requirements. It is a slippery slope. If he is not careful, Mr. Jackman's portfolio might eventually come to be known as the Department of Fish Trans-Shipments.

  • Lonely last Turbot
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    As bad as the federal government may be in managing the resource, the province always finds a way to do even worse.
    Imagine if the crowd at Confed Bldg were allowed to assign quotas or set TAC levels. It'd be all over then.

  • robert
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    First, the province forces the break up of FPI by not allowing them to export these same fish - a breakup that involved turning over a company built on public money to a private company. Now, they have a compete about face on their export policy and they grant permission to OCI who had bought FPI's assets well below their worth..
    Take a look at the contibutions from the 2007 election - OCI and their owners gave generously to the PC party. It looks as if they are getting those contributions back with interest.
    some things never change.
    So much for ''no more giveaways''.

  • fintip
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    As any good accountant will attest, it is not terribly difficult to shift revenues and expenses among multiple production centres so as to create the appearance of a loss in any one facility. That may or may not be at play in this particular situation. What is certain is this. There is almost no fish processing activity in this province which could not be carried out more cheaply and competitively in locations outside Canada - in countries like China where worker safety, food hygiene and other standards are much lower. A gross oversight by Newfoundland's fathers of confederation has left this province will very little influence in the conduct of our most important industry. Mr. Jackman risks losing the little influence we still have when he acquiesces to the export of raw material for processing elsewhere. OCI was not the first and it won't be the last to poor-mouth its way to an exemption from local processing requirements. It is a slippery slope. If he is not careful, Mr. Jackman's portfolio might eventually come to be known as the Department of Fish Trans-Shipments.