Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. relaxes regulations on local fish purchases

People and restaurants in Newfoundland and Labrador will now be able to purchase local seafood as the government makes legislative changes to allow for the direct sale of fish.
The Newfoundland and Labrador government announced Tuesday that individuals and restaurants can now purchase fish directly from harvesters. (CBC)

People and restaurants in Newfoundland and Labrador will now be able to purchase local seafood as the government makes legislative changes to allow for the sale of fish directly from wharves.

"We recognize that there has been an appetite for change in a decades-old policy, that amounted to a blanket prohibition on the direct sale of fish throughout the province," said Fisheries Minister Vaughn Granter at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

The new rules allow for the sale of finfish, live crustaceans, squid, seal meat and scallop meat to individuals for personal consumption. There will be no limitations on personal consumption. 

Restaurant owners will be able to buy a licence that would allow them to buy up to 300 pounds per species per week, directly from harvesters. 

The licences will each cost $50 a year.

Granter said the harvester and buyer can negotiate on price.

"It's ideal for harvesters to make sure that they follow the stringent rules and regulations, to bring in the best quality fish that they can. and it should mean a few extra dollars in the pocket of harvesters as well," said Granter.

Chef Roary MacPherson says the changes will benefit harvesters, chefs, and tourism. (CBC)

Local chef Roary MacPherson, who spoke at the announcement at Bacalao restaurant, said diners, especially tourists, want to know what's on their plate.

"They want to know how it was raised," said MacPherson.​ "Now that we can do things like this, taking tourists down to a fisherman's boat to pick out your dinner for that night, i mean, what's better than that?"

Plus —  it gives chefs the chance to flex a little culinary creativity.

"If someone wants to save the sounds from cod, the britches, if they want to use the livers, totally up to them," said MacPherson.

The new rules were recommended by Eric Dunne Consulting in a 2010 report on regulations and policy for direct fish sales in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

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