Potential Canada-EU trade deal raises alarms for Atlantic fishery

It’s a predictable response, replete with arrogance, ignorance, rationalization and insensitivity.

“At stake is the ability of Canadians to pursue public policies that curb domination of the fisheries by large corporations,” says the study released Wednesday by the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

“My biggest concern is that Canadian governments and citizens, particularly provincial governments, will lose their ability to regulate the fishery to maximize local benefits,” author Scott Sinclair said in an interview.

His study, “Globalization, Trade Treaties and the Future of the Atlantic Canadian Fisheries,” includes details reportedly leaked from ongoing closed-door Canada-EU trade talks.

They indicate that “the EU is strongly pressuring Canada to abolish minimum processing requirements” as the two sides work toward a deal known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, says the report.

It’s a contentious issue that recently played out in St. John’s, N.L., as the provincial government wrangled for months with Ocean Choice International. At issue was the company’s push for exemptions to minimum processing requirements meant to safeguard local jobs and share benefits of a publicly owned resource.

The company wanted to ship most of its groundfish catch straight to overseas buyers, saying markets increasingly want less processed product.

In December, the government and Ocean Choice International reached a deal that allows the company to ship up to 75 per cent of its yellowtail flounder quota out of the province unprocessed. The rest will be handled at a plant in Fortune, N.L., that will provide 110 full-time jobs for five years.

Scrapping minimum processing requirements would strip provinces of leverage in future disputes, Sinclair said.

Click here to read the full Cape Breton Post article.

Posted on by FriendsForSealsOrg