Atlantic IssuesPublisher: Oxfam Canada, Canada
Year Published: 1977
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX467
This tabloid is published quarterly and circulated throughout the Atlantic provinces. The current issue looks at the dying Maritime textile industry, unemployment in the Maritimes, the prison system, and fishing.
Abstract: This tabloid is published quarterly and circulated throughout the Atlantic provinces. The current issue looks at the dying Maritime textile industry, unemployment in the Maritimes, the prison system, and fishing.
The centrefold article asks what is happening to the fishery. H.B. Nickerson, a relatively small fishing company, has bought controlling interest recently in National Sea Products Ltd., the largest Canadian fish company. This strange event becomes more comprehensible when it is recalled that Nickerson has thus closely allied itself with the George Weston Corp., the largest food multinational in Canada. The alliance, assuring virtual control of the Canadian industry, will serve them well in light of the federal decision to extend Canadian jurisdiction over a 200 mile zone off the coast. One result of the 200 mile limit has been to idle off-shore fishing fleets from other nations. They find themselves now with an excess of equipment, technical know-how, and markets. Gradually over 10 years, Canada could thus build up their own industry. Ottawa, however, is resisting. They would like to give the fish ten years to replenish themselves and then gradually work independently to develop our own fishing fleets.
The risk in the provincial government approach is that foreign superiority, once rooted in Canada, will be the kind of development that will move the industry to the level of the lumber and mining industries, an investment frontier. The real beneficiaries would certainly be the monopoly corporations that have the equity and control of the market. Ultimately, they may end up simply catching and processing the fish directly on off-shore crawlers; then, exporting directly to foreign markets without ever brining the catch to Canadian ports at all.
The risk of waiting ten years, as the federal government would like, is that we may lose the European market -- or even the American market -- as they turn to other food sources. Thus, a Canadian deep sea fleet must be developed. But if paid for by public funds, it should be publicly owned and it must not interefere with the livlihood of inshore fishermen. Fish are a hot commodity for the future because of protein scarcity. Unless properly developed it will remain a "problem."