Saskatchewan fishers want to keep more of industry in the province
- EFN Staff | March 02, 2015
Northern Saskatchewan fishermen are developing plans to keep more of the industry and the economic benefits in the province.
Recently formed, the Ile-a-la-Crosse Fish Company Inc. is planning to construct a new Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)-certified, value-added fish processing facility within the northern village of Ile-a-la-Crosse. The total projected cost is slightly more than $2 million.
The commercial fishing industry still holds considerable economic value to a highly entrepreneurial and primarily Metis and First nations population within Northern Saskatchewan. Last winter, its first year as an agent for the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation, the Ile-a-la-Crosse Fish Company bought and sold close to 750,000 pounds of fish for a local economic value of nearly $700,000.
According to local leaders and fishers, too much prosperity is being exported by not investing in infrastructure and training that would enable value-added fish production.
“Through fish processing and marketing, the financial and employment impact is immediate,” says Larry Gardiner, Chair of the local Big Island Fishers Co-operative. “We have a vibrant commercial fishing industry here. It’s important to our people. In the minds of fishers, it’s about getting the most out of the fish we work hard to catch.”
Leadership in the community of Ile-a-la-Crosse continues to support its fishers to achieve an economically sustainable future, says the fish company.
“The idea of continually shipping away a large portion of teh value of the product does not make sense to us,” says Ile-a-la-Crosse Mayor Duane Favel. “That’s why we must fillet and package fish and other fish products locally for export to markets.”