Clam con­cern con­tin­ues

Grand Bank coun­cil dis­pleased with gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion as Indige­nous groups come for­ward

The Southern Gazette - - Front Page - BY PAUL HERRIDGE pher­ridge@south­erngazette.ca

Grand Bank coun­cil con­tin­ues to ex­press dis­ap­point­ment at the re­cent de­ci­sion by fed­eral Fish­eries Min­is­ter Do­minic LeBlanc to add a fourth li­cence for Arc­tic surf clams in next year’s fishery.

Nova Sco­tia-based Clear­wa­ter Seafoods cur­rently holds the other three li­cences and pro­cesses the clams at its fa­cil­ity in Grand Bank.

Stip­u­la­tions on the new li­cence re­quire the holder to be an Indige­nous en­try based in At­lantic Canada or Que­bec.

LeBlanc has said 25 per cent of the ex­ist­ing 38,000-tonne quota will be re-al­lo­cated from Clear­wa­ter to the new en­trant.

The town is con­cerned about the im­pact an ad­di­tional li­cence with the same quota will have on em­ploy­ment at the plant in Grand Bank.

“No­body can never un­der­stand how (LeBlanc) came to do this,” Mayor Rex Matthews said dur­ing coun­cil’s meet­ing Oct. 30.

The mayor said he ex­pected there would be four or five pro­pos­als sub­mit­ted by the Nov. 2 dead­line.

Two groups pub­licly an­nounced they had done so by the cut-off date. One in­volves a deal be­tween Clear­wa­ter and 13 Mi’kmaq com­mu­ni­ties in Nova Sco­tia, while the other com­prises a part­ner­ship be­tween three New­found­land Indige­nous groups – the Mi­aw­pukek First Na­tion, the Innu Na­tion and the Qalipu First Na­tion – who say they will work with the Cooke Clam Group for tech­ni­cal sup­port and ad­vice.

Clear­wa­ter’s Grand Bank plant op­er­ates year-round and has seen in­creased em­ploy­ment in re­cent times.

Matthews somberly re­called ef­forts by the town in the early 1990s to help es­tab­lish the Arc­tic surf clam op­er­a­tion in Grand Bank in the wake of the cod mora­to­rium.

To see that work po­ten­tially di­min­ished just as they are now see­ing the rewards is dif­fi­cult, he said.

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