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Seafood Industry Year In Review For 2009

CANADA - The annual Seafood Industry Year in Review publication was released today by the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. The report confirms that the Newfoundland and Labrador seafood industry experienced a challenging year in 2009 with a total value of $827 million, a decline of almost 22 per cent over 2008. However, farmed salmon and trout sectors experienced a rise in both production and market value.

“Clearly, 2009 was a difficult year in the province’s fishing industry,” said Minister Jackman. “Seafood prices were very much impacted by the global economic conditions, which contributed to lower demand for seafood products. There were depressed prices for key species such as snow crab, shrimp and lobster. Yet we are very encouraged by the performance in the aquaculture industry. Notwithstanding exchange rates, there are low inventories for crab and shrimp going into the 2010 season and light ice conditions. Therefore, we are hopeful of a better performance in 2010.”

Minister Jackman noted that aquaculture production rose 18 per cent and market value for aquaculture products increased by 45.9 per cent to $92 million in 2009, due primarily to strong prices for Atlantic salmon and trout.

Exchange rates placed additional pressure on the fishing industry in 2009. This was especially true during the later part of the season. The high Canadian dollar relative to the United States dollar and the Euro meant that there were lower returns for harvesters and processors in this province.

The report also details employment data for the province’s fishing industry in 2009. Employment in the province’s fishing industry was down by 14 per cent, with an average of 10,300 person years of employment. There were 105 processing plants in operation in 2009, as opposed to 115 in 2008. The shutdown in the province’s shrimp fishery in 2009 had a negative impact on the amount of shrimp that was harvested for the year, as well as employment levels in shrimp processing plants. With the reduction in shrimp landings, there was a decline of 19.3 per cent in overall plant employment.

The Provincial Government committed $800,000 to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) process in 2009 in an effort to address long-term structural issues in the fishing industry. The partners to the MOU are the Fish Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) and Association of Seafood Producers (ASP).

“Our government recognises that serious global economic challenges impacted the province’s fishing industry in 2009,” said Minister Jackman. “We also recognize that the structural issues in the industry made for a more difficult year for everyone involved. We are pleased to be working with the industry to develop strategies to reduce our susceptibility to sudden shifts in the global economy in the future.”

The Seafood Year in Review 2009 can be found at www.fishaq.gov.nl.ca/publications/index.html#seafood.

the Fish Site Editor

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