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Government Accepts MOU Proposals

CANADA - The Provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is accepting all seafood marketing proposals in the Report of the Independent Chair of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) steering committee.

The Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, announced that the Provincial Government will explore options with the Federal Government and fishing industry to establish a seafood marketing council, a number of seafood sales consortia and improved access to inventory financing for the provinces fishing industry. These initiatives respond to the proposals brought forward by the industry in the report.

There are huge opportunities in international seafood markets and our provincial seafood producing sector now has the opportunity to reposition its products to very discerning and high paying customers within the global marketplace, said Minister Clyde Jackman.

After reviewing the report, our government agrees in principle with all the proposals related to seafood sales and marketing in the MOU report. The provinces fishing industry will now develop more detailed proposals to bring forward to the Federal Government to implement these initiatives."

"Our government will make representation to and work with the Federal Government on behalf of industry toward the successful implementation of the proposals as we believe these initiatives will enable the provinces fishing industry to more effectively compete in the modern global marketplace.

The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture will seek federal funding for marketing initiatives which could include establishing a provincial seafood marketing council and the creation of voluntary seafood sales entities, for a period of three years.

A seafood inventory financing arrangement, supported by a loan guarantee, will also be explored. The marketing proposals under the MOU anticipate costs of $15 million in total for the seafood market council and the sales entities, of which the industry would contribute some $3.85 million. The total amount of loan guarantees was estimated to be up to $80 million. As there is already federal programming in place to support seafood marketing, these initiatives are strong candidates for federal funding support.

The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is willing to provide funding to offset initial incremental set-up costs for participants who are interested in establishing sales consortia, subject to input and support from the Federal Government and industry.

The department is also willing to participate in a working capital guarantee program which could be accessed by sales consortia to enhance their inventory financing capacity. These initiatives reflect the proposals that the fishing industry brought forward as part of the MOU process.

The provinces fishing industry has brought forward the concept of a provincial seafood marketing council. The Provincial Government will now provide support to the industry to help them further develop the details of how the council would be structured and function. The industry will be required to play an active role in establishing the council, including sharing in funding the organisation.

The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture will work with Federal Government agencies and commercial banks in a collaborative effort to assist in the provision of inventory financing arrangements.

The department will also work with the sales consortia after they have been established. The purpose is to make available to sales consortia inventory financing greater than that which would otherwise be available from commercial banks. This should enable consortia to have a greater ability to hold product in inventory for an extended period, to allow for a more orderly release of product into the marketplace than is currently the practice in the industry.

Our government continues to be committed to the restructuring and advancement of the provinces fishing industry, said Mr Jackman.

The MOU process was an extension of the Fishing Industry Renewal Strategy which was designed to create a more vibrant industry for the coastal and rural areas of the province that depend on it. Our vision continues to be one of an industry that can provide attractive incomes to industry participants and attract and retain skilled workers in the face of changing resources and global market conditions. We are pleased to take steps toward realising those goals.

The Report of the Independent Chair of the MOU Steering Committee was completed as part of the MOU process that was undertaken in response to a shrimp price dispute settlement in 2009.

the Fish Site Editor

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