News Release Archive

  Premier John Savage and Fisheries Minister Jim Barkhouse
  want an emergency meeting with federal Fisheries Minister
  Fred Mifflin to discuss more fully the current dispute over
  fisheries policies and licence fees.
  The request came following a meeting this afternoon between
  the premier, Mr. Barkhouse and fisher representatives with
  the Alliance of Inshore Fishermen's Groups.
  "The situation in Nova Scotia has reached a critical point.
  We have been thoroughly frustrated in our attempts to
  resolve the issues and are insisting upon a meeting with
  federal Fisheries Minister Mifflin to break the impasse and
  get our industry back on track," said Premier Savage.
  Echoing the premier's statement, Mr. Barkhouse noted that
  the situation is very tense. "The federal Fisheries
  department is shaking the basic foundation of a way of life
  in this province without possessing all the necessary
  information to make sound decisions. Recent comments from
  the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) demonstrate
  that it does not understand the unique nature of our
  industry," said Mr. Barkhouse.
  The minister added that the people and coastal communities
  which are affected by DFO changes have been completely left
  out of the equation. "Contrary to what the federal
  government is saying, new licence fees were developed
  entirely within DFO without the benefit of constructive and
  detailed consultation with industry and provincial
  governments," he said.
  "DFO has put the cart before the horse. If proper and
  meaningful consultation had taken place before the
  development of policies, the department would have made
  better-informed decisions and Nova Scotia would have been
  treated more fairly. As it is, they have completely misread
  our industry and are undermining the future of thousands of
  Nova Scotians."
  Barkhouse disputed DFO's assertion that the majority of Nova
  Scotia fishermen are paying $100 or less for licences. "This
  is not true. In fact, the great majority of our fishermen
  are paying well above $100 for their licences." 
  The premier said the new fees, together with other changes
  will have a devastating effect on coastal communities. He is
  urging that a task force be established to examine the
  cumulative impacts of all this and other financial
  obligations being placed on fishermen.
  "This task force would differ from what DFO is proposing
  with the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters,
  which will focus on a review of licence fees on an
  Atlantic-wide basis," he explained.
  Premier Savage noted that the province shares the concerns
  of the Alliance of Inshore Fishermen's Groups with regard to
  criteria for those who eventually will become full-time
  (core) fishermen. "We urged the federal government to
  consider handline, traps and weirs as key licences and hence
  The province has a responsibility to maintain and protect
  the social and economic stability of its coastal
  communities, said Mr. Savage. "We must play a key role in
  the development of policies affecting the fabric of our
  Contact: David Harrigan  902-424-3750
           Diane Kenny     902-424-0308
  trp                  Feb. 15, 1996 - 4:15 p.m.