Stuck in the past

Urchins have more value ‘fresh, live’, says for­eign buyer

The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

“New­found­land is al­most the same as Rus­sia. There’s lots of prod­ucts, raw ma­te­ri­als, but un­for­tu­nately, there’s not many work­ers.”

When speak­ing about Rus­sia’s pro­cess­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, he is be­ing spe­cific to the east­ern side of the coun­try, com­monly re­ferred to as Siberia.

Mr. King said the sys­tem in place, one where work­ers ac­cu­mu­late stamps and draw un­em­ploy­ment, isn’t by de­sign, but the prod­uct of what hap­pens when you have a sea­sonal in­dus­try.

“The whole is­sue of sea­sonal work, I don’t at­tribute that to those who work on the plant floor. I at­tribute that to a chang­ing fish­ery. (Some peo­ple have been) re­duced to sea­sonal work as a re­sult of change in the work through no fault of their own. Sea­sonal work be­came a func­tion of sur­vival and they rely on Em­ploy­ment In­sur­ance to sup­ple­ment their in­come. I don’t see it as a case that we ought to look at work­ers as caus­ing this to hap­pen.”

He said the fu­ture could dic­tate change and maybe this is a sys­tem that could end, but that will be up to the peo­ple of New­found­land and Labrador.

“The na­ture of the in­dus­try is that you’re go­ing to have sea­sonal plants, but there are other op­por­tu­ni­ties where plants are go­ing multi-species. I don’t think it’s a re­flec­tion of where the work­ers want to be. It’s a re­flec­tion of where the work has been. It’s not a func­tion of work­ers not want­ing to work.”

In the mean­time, Mr. Ta­maki said New­found­land and Labrador has to change its way of think­ing if they hope to re­vive a dy­ing in­dus­try.

“New­found­land (and Labrador) is oil rich. They can af­ford to ig­nore the fish­ery.”

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