Manitoba

Mediator hired to help Manitoba fishers withdraw from Freshwater Fish

Manitoba has hired a mediator to assist commercial fishers who want to leave the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation (FFMC) and sell their own catch outside the province.

Signature Mediation to hold consultations, create process so commercial fishers can go solo

Manitoba announced Wednesday it has hired Signature Mediation to consult with businesses and commercial fishers in the province to identify a process for withdrawing from Freshwater Fish Marketing Corp. (Mikey Smith)

Manitoba has hired a mediator to assist commercial fishers who want to leave the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation (FFMC) and sell their own catch outside the province.

In August, the province said it would be removing itself from legislation that required fishers in Manitoba to go through the FFMC, a Crown corporation, in order to process, market and sell fish.

The newly hired mediator, Signature Mediation, will help develop a process for fishers to withdraw their membership from FFMC. Fishers, once they have left the FFMC, will be able to set their own prices and market their catch independently.

With such a significant change coming to the province's $22 million freshwater fishing industry, Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox, said a "specialized team" was required to help with the transition.

"Signature Mediation is a Manitoba company with years of experience helping people with different ideas reach mutually beneficial conclusions and we look forward to building a new era for Manitoba fishers," said Cox in a news release on Wednesday.

"This candidate appealed specifically to the position of fisheries envoy because of its experience working with Manitoba Pork Marketing Co-op, playing an integral role in helping the hog industry in Manitoba transition into a flexible marketing system," she said.

Signature Mediation will be required to consult with Indigenous fishers groups, businesses and commercial fishing communities, the province said. It will also be responsible for identifying regulations and policies to establish the new marketing system and establish a process for sustainable fisheries management.

Louise McKay said fishers in the RM of St. Laurent are looking forward to marketing their own catch. (CBC)

Louise McKay, president of the community development corporation for the RM of St. Laurent, said Métis fishers in her community are looking forward to a new era of marketing their catch. St. Laurent is located in Manitoba's Interlake region.

"We're quite happy," said McKay.

"For us, because we're planning on having a fish plant in St. Laurent, it means that more of [the Métis​] can stay in the community, they can continue doing their way of life."

Signature Mediation will deliver a final report next spring, Minister Cox said.

with files from Heloise Bargain

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