The Saskatchewan government has confirmed that it is withdrawing from the Freshwater Fish Marketing Agreement (FFMA) with the Government of Canada, on April 1, 2012, one year later than originally proposed.
“This decision answers a long-standing request of Saskatchewan Co-operative Fisheries Ltd. (SCFL) – the umbrella organization represent ing the majority of Saskatchewan commercial fishers,” First Nations and Métis Relations Minister Ken Cheveldayoff said.
For the coming year, the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation (FFMC) has confirmed it will continue to buy all Saskatchewan fish that are commercially caught for export. Under the 1969 agreement, the FFMC, located in Winnipeg, has the right to purchase all fish caught for export sale. Beyond April 1, 2012, the FFMC could still buy Saskatchewan fish on an open-market basis.
“This decision will provide Saskatchewan fishers, existing businesses in the sector and the SCFL more time to explore new partnerships and value-adding opportunities that will be possible in the future open-market setting for the industry,” Cheveldayoff said.
While the Saskatchewan government has been providing annual assistance to the SCFL to help it plan for an open market, and will continue to support the fishers’ federation with further onetime operating assistance in 2011-12, the government will not invest directly in new fish-processing facilities in Saskatchewan.