FFAW calls for increased focus on marketing of Newfoundland and Labrador’s valuable cod resource

Atlantic-Cod-Dieter-CraasmannST. JOHN’S, May 29, 2015 – The need for a focus on marketing of our cod resource is evident following a decision by the price setting panel to reduce the price paid to harvesters for cod.
 The panel responded to cries from processing companies for cheaper fish, to the detriment of harvesters who worked hard to improve quality and are already dealing with resource declines in other sectors. This was a disappointing result given that cod is so important to many harvesters in this province.
 “We are calling on the provincial government to support and facilitate our call for a cod marketing council made up of equal representation of harvesters and processing sector representatives,” said FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan.
 In 2014, prices to harvesters were improved based upon the significant focus on landing top quality product. This emphasis on landing premium grade fish allowed harvesters to achieve higher prices. The recent decision and position of processing companies is clearly a step in the wrong direction.
 “We desperately need to focus on marketing our cod and achieving the highest possible value for the harvesters who work so hard to get it. We must refuse to be a supplier of cheap fish. The time for investment in our cod industry is overdue, but we can start now with an industry structure that has equal representation from the harvesting and processing sectors,” said Sullivan.
 Newfoundland and Labrador cod has the potential to be marketed among the best in the world, however many processing companies are currently not making that commitment. These companies are given the privilege to buy and sell seafood from our waters, but they also have the responsibility to market the product.
 Many harvesters and processing workers depend heavily on cod and the lack of focus on marketing our product is having a negative effect on the overall economy of Newfoundland and Labrador, especially for our coastal communities.
 This marketing council will require investment from the provincial government at a pivotal time as our industry transitions. The federal government must also partner with harvesters and coastal communities to ensure strong and stable industries.  Shellfish stocks are declining as cod and other groundfish rebound, and more must be done to ensure there is a place in the global market for our high quality seafood.
 

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