“Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have a strong attachment to the sea and to its seafood resources. The regulatory changes will allow individual consumers and food premises to purchase fish directly from harvesters, and were developed after targeted consultation with key industry stakeholders. The changes strike an appropriate balance between the interests of harvesters, processors, restaurants and individual consumers and provide food premises and individuals with another opportunity to access fresh local seafood in addition to existing licenced processors and in-province retail fish establishments,” said Vaughn Granter, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
As a result of regulatory changes enacted today:
- Direct fish sales will be permitted from the fish landing station or a harvester’s fishing establishment, of finfish, live crustaceans, squid, seal meat, and scallop meat to individuals solely for personal consumption;
- Food premises will be able to acquire a restricted buyer’s licence at an annual cost of $50 to enable them to purchase fish, to a maximum of 300 pounds per species per week, directly from harvesters;
- Food premises will be required to submit reports on quantities of fish purchased through direct sales, by species, on a weekly basis; and
- Direct fish sales will be limited to the harvester’s own catch caught under the harvester’s own commercial licence.
These changes are consistent with the recommendations made in Eric Dunne Consulting Initiatives’ 2010 Report of the Review of the Regulations and Policy for Direct Fish Sales in Newfoundland and Labrador.
"RANL is very excited to be part of this announcement, as it is something we have been striving to see implemented for a long time. Our industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the last number of years and the missing piece in offering a true taste of place and sense of who we are, has been access to local seafood products fresh from the water. We will now be able to invite people into our restaurants to try the best we have to offer. This is a great step forward in offering a true local culinary experience to locals and tourists alike," said Andrea Maunder, RANL Chair and owner of Bacalao Restaurant.
Newfoundland and Labrador seafood will continue to be a healthy choice, as direct sales from harvesters will continue be subject to stringent quality and food safety requirements. The direct sales by harvesters of bivalve or gastropod shellfish including mussels, clams, whole scallops, whelk, or periwinkle will remain prohibited as these products must be strictly monitored for bio-toxins and bacteria during harvesting and processing.
The following activities will also remain prohibited:
- Sale of cooked crustaceans;
- Sale of fish that is not caught under the seller’s own commercial licence; and
- Door-to-door and parking lot sales, unless the seller is properly licensed under the Food Premises Act for mobile vending.
Under the new regulations, the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture will be adding inspection of harvesters’ establishments, as defined under the Fish Inspection Operations Regulations, to its compliance and enforcement activities. Environmental Health Officers with Service NL will continue to inspect licensed food premises.
Restaurant owners interested in applying for a restricted buyers licence can call 709-729-3719 or email email@example.com.
Applications are also available online at: www.fishaq.gov.nl.ca/licensing/fish_buyers.html