As a one-year pilot project, the Provincial Government will now permit seafood buyers from outside the province to purchase 3Ps Atlantic Cod from local harvesters. Additionally, active provincial plants that formerly processed cod and other groundfish will be able to reinstate their processing authorization for this year.
The Provincial Government will also temporarily authorize provincially-based retail processors to market their cod outside the province to stimulate more sales.
“A concerted effort by the Provincial Government and industry players in the cod sector this year has improved the quality of catch, increased the price earned by harvesters, and resulted in more fish being harvested to date in comparison to last year. While these are important gains, there is still a significant amount of quota that has not been harvested, and so this government is opening up new sales opportunities on a pilot basis to encourage more economic activity and better utilization of the resource,” said Keith Hutchings, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
All outside buyers wishing to purchase fish from provincial harvesters must meet the regulatory requirements of local processors. Specifically, outside buyers will be bound by the collective agreement between harvesters and processors regarding pricing and so they will have to compensate harvesters according to the quality of the fish they receive.
In addition, outside buyers must be licensed under the Fish Inspection Act, will need to have a performance bond in place, and will have to be registered with Workplace Health and Safety Compensation Commission and be in good standing.
“This is an important pilot project, as it will provide valuable information about various opportunities to get our cod resources out of the water and into lucrative markets. Market and buying intelligence gained from our experience with this project will play a vital role toward taking full advantage of the increasing biomass of cod, and building the provincial cod sector for the future,” said Mr Hutchings.
Minister Hutchings stated on March 3 that the Provincial Government would explore all available options to enhance the amount of 3Ps cod quota harvested by maximizing available sales opportunities.
This pilot project, which will conclude on March 31, 2015, continues the Provincial Government’s ongoing efforts to maximize the value gained from cod. Prior efforts included relaxing minimum processing requirements for cod on a test basis this year, which resulted in processors and harvesters benefiting from US demand for fresh fish.
In addition, industry engagement helped create a quality pricing scheme that has improved the quality of harvested cod and enhanced financial returns to harvesters. Approximately 80 per cent of the cod presented to processors this year has received a top quality grade and earned more than 80 cents per pound. Last year cod harvesters earned approximately 50 cents per pound of harvested catch.
Individuals with questions about these new measures can email email@example.com or call 709-729-3723.