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NEWS: Council raises concerns about Ocean Choice International plan

Council of Canadians St. John’s chapter activist Ken Kavanagh was on CBC Newfoundland television news last night raising concerns about Ocean Choice International.

On December 23, the St. John’s Telegram reported, “The Council of Canadians is urging the Newfoundland and Labrador government to reject a plan from Ocean Choice International, which would see only 25 per cent of the total catch of redfish and flatfish processed in the company’s plant in Fortune, and the rest sold whole to markets in Europe and Asia.”

“‘Our government must reject Ocean Choice’s proposal outright,’ said Ken Kavanagh, spokesman for the Council of Canadians in this province. Instead of giving into Ocean Choice’s demands, Kavanagh said the government must move to protect local communities, local jobs, and increase processing regulations that protect local fisheries rather than reducing them. ‘If government approves this corporate plan of restructuring the groundfish industry, we will see very soon the complete shutdown of fish processing plants along the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.’ …Kavanagh said citizens must stop companies like Ocean Choice from exporting our resources without restriction, and prevent these companies from not only owning the fish but exporting them where ever they want.”

“Leo Broderick, vice-chairman of the Council of Canadians, from Prince Edward Island where Ocean Choice closed a lobster processing plant in 2010, is also voicing concern about the Newfoundland situation. ‘Giving into Ocean Choice at this time is very dangerous, not only to Newfoundland and Labrador, but to all Atlantic fisheries as Canada is now negotiating a comprehensive economic trade agreement with Europe (CETA),’ Broderick said. ‘In return for Canada’s lowering high tariffs on fish products going into the European Union, the EU is seeking changes that would limit our governments’ ability to protect fishery resources and fish processing jobs at home. These include the elimination of export restrictions on unprocessed fish and foreign ownership limits in the fish processing industry, and new rights for EU boats to fish in Canadian waters and then take the fish back to Europe for processing. Newfoundland and Labrador Government must say no Ocean Choice and no CETA.'”

“Maude Barlow, chairwoman of the Council of Canadians agrees. ‘The fisheries are the lifeblood of Newfoundland,’ Barlow said. ‘It is the government’s job to do everything in it power to protect them, not give VIP treatment to corporations to ship the jobs away.'”

The full article can be read at http://www.thetelegram.com/News/Local/2011-12-23/article-2845804/Council-of-Canadians-calls-on-Newfoundland-government-to-say-No-to-Ocean-Choice/1. An earlier campaign blog can be found at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=12830.