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Clearwater to keep Arctic surf clam monopoly until 2020

Newly appointed federal Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson (left), and Newfoundland and Labrador Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Gerry Byrne met at the regional minister’s office in the Baine Johnston Building in St. John’s Tuesday and then met with the media in the lobby of the building. They took reporters’ questions, with the main topic being the recent quota allocation reversal of Arctic surf clams.
Federal Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson (left) and Newfoundland and Labrador Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Gerry Byrne speak to reporters in St. John’s in this Aug. 14, 2018 file photo. - Joe Gibbons

OTTAWA, ONT.—Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has confirmed Clearwater Seafoods has been given the go ahead to catch the outstanding 25 per cent of the 2018 and 2019 total allowable catch (TAC) for Arctic surf clams.

A statement issued by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) on Sept. 11 reiterates the plan remains to identify a new Indigenous participant for the 2020 fishery, however.

“This will allow for the economic benefits to remain in coastal communities while Fisheries and Oceans Canada continues to work to broaden access to this fishery,” the statement indicated.

A new expression of interest process will be launched next spring to identify an Indigenous entity for a fourth license for the fishery. The submissions will be reviewed by an independent third-party.

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Last month, the federal government announced the cancellation of the process to issue a new licence to Five Nations Clam Company that was announced in February. With the additional licence came 25 per cent of the existing TAC.

Up until the February announcement, Clearwater Seafoods held the only three licences for Arctic surf clams and processed the species at its facility in Grand Bank

“The decision to introduce Indigenous participation in the Arctic Surf Clam fishery is consistent with the Government of Canada's commitment to developing a renewed relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples,” the Sept. 11 statement reads.

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