Congratulations to Fisher River Cree Nation and Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation

August 14, 2020

Surplus Food Program will put 3,000 people back to work, feed 75+ Indigenous Communities

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont, MLA for St. Boniface, offered congratulations to Fisher River Cree Nation and their partner Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation (FFMC), on their successful application for the Federal Government's Surplus Food Rescue Program.

Like so many others, inland fishers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories were hit hard and lost their spring season when their major markets were closed to by the Covid-19 pandemic. There were few customers and the fishery essentially shut down.

The announcement today means the Federal Government will buy up to $10.845-million in high-quality freshwater fish from Fisher River Cree Nation and FFMC. That fish will be distributed free of charge in partnership with more than 75 Indigenous communities in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the North to provide healthy local food to families.

Clearing the inventory means the fall season for fishing can resume.

"We have been working with fishers, FFMC and the Federal Government since May to make this happen," said Dougald Lamont, Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party and MLA for St. Boniface. "This is a win-win-win that will allow the commercial fishery to reopen for the fall season."

Lamont reached out to commercial fishers, met with FFMC in May, and reached out to the Federal Government to expand their food rescue program to make sure that freshwater fish was eligible.

The commercial fishery in Manitoba and Saskatchewan has approximately 1,500 Indigenous licensed commercial gillnet fishers - 1,250 in Manitoba and 250 in Saskatchewan. When direct employment of fishers' assistants, packing sheds, transportation and processing plants are included, the total number of Indigenous people employed in the commercial fishing industry in Manitoba and Saskatchewan is over 3,000.

"As an opposition MLA, most of our time is spent trying to prevent the PCs from doing wrong, so to have played a part in creating a program that will put 3,000 people back to work and provide free healthy food to 75 First Nations is beyond gratifying," said Lamont.



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