OCI's decision to build new $10-million fish processing and packaging plant outside home province also questioned
Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan represents the Nova Scotia district of South Shore-St. Margaret's in the House of Commons.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) demands the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans apologize for showing favouritism to her home province — describing Nova Scotia as “leading the way” in Canada’s seafood sector.
“Bernadette Jordan needs to be reminded she’s the Minister for all of Canada — not just Nova Scotia,” says Ryan Cleary, interim Executive Director of SEA-NL, a new and distinct voice for the province’s licensed, owner-operator inshore harvesters.
“Premier Andrew Furey himself must ask the Minister whether her goal is to lead the way for jobs and more fish to leave Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Cleary. “It’s time the Furey administration took a stand for the wild commercial fisheries.”
Ottawa and Nova Scotia announced late last week that a subsidiary of Ocean Choice International is being provided with $10.3 million through the Atlantic Fisheries Fund and ACOA to build a new retail packing plant, and cold-storage distribution centre in Dartmouth, N.S.
The project will create up to 50 year-round jobs, and provide “a showcase within the fish and seafood sector related to advanced processing equipment.”
“Why isn’t OCI building its new showcase plant in its home province, and will fish caught off Newfoundland and Labrador be processed and packaged at the new plant?” asks Cleary, who notes that while inshore harvesters can’t ship fish out-of-province, OCI can.
The $400-million Atlantic Fisheries Fund was initially supposed to be solely for Newfoundland and Labrador as compensation for the province giving up minimum fish processing requirements as part of the Canada/EU free-trade deal.
Funds were later earmarked for all of Atlantic Canada on a 70/30 federal/provincial split.
“Now here we are today with OCI building a state-of-the-art plant in Nova Scotia to package fish from provinces including Newfoundland and Labrador,” says Cleary.
Meantime, OCI is building a controversial new development in Long Pond, Conception Bay South that includes an office building, cold-storage, and wharf facilities — but no new “showcase” plant. Efforts to determine the amount of unprocessed fish being shipped out of the province for further processing have been unsuccessful to date.