Double standard on urchins

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When it comes to unprocessed fish, the provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture seems to have an inconsistent policy.

On the one hand, the province has rejected a request by Ocean Choice International (OCI) to ship unprocessed fish out of the province. On the other hand, the government has allowed out-of-province buyers to purchase sea urchins directly from fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador. How does that make sense?

But that’s not the only confounding question. Fisheries and Aquaculture announced in August a review of the sea urchin industry to “determine whether the industry has sufficient processing capability and harvesters have sufficient outlets for their catch.”

Currently, there’s only one licenced sea urchin processor in Newfoundland and Labrador — Wood-Pick Enterprises, based in Wareham, Bonavista Bay.

The kicker here is that, at the same time the department announced the review, officials also decided to allow outside buyers in.

Wood-Pick says it can’t compete with the outside buyers.

How can the department accurately gauge the provincial industry when it opens the door to outside buyers?

It’s almost as if government is setting up the review to fail.

Ryan Cleary

MP for St. John’s South-Mount Pearl

Note: the provincial government announced a change potentially allowing OCI to export unprocessed fish late Friday.

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Wood-Pick Enterprises

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Wareham

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Recent comments

  • NowIsee
    October 01, 2012 - 15:16

    Too bad there aint a guy up in Ottawa preventing this sort of thing from happening. Oh wait........

  • The signed CETA Agreement is just around the corner. Then it will be game over for the fishers and the fishing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.
    October 01, 2012 - 10:03

    Don't forget Ryan that the signed CETA Agreement is just around the corner, if it is not already signed it is not too far off, and then the European Union harvesters and processors will be allowed to come to our wharves and conduct business in the same manner as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians! Of course, all the business and jobs will be taken back to Europe or China. Our ocean waters will be completely devoid of all fish species, I suspect, very soon. Who do we have minding the shop for us? Nobody since politicians mind the shop for themselves! Thank you Ryan for keeping an eye on what is going on, I hope you can combat the foe.