Prince Rupert Sends Letter to Fisheries Minister On Importance of Processing Fish At Home

The City of Prince Rupert will be sending a letter to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Dominic LeBlanc, stating their concern about how Canadian fish is processed.

Councillor Joy Thorkelson presented a motion to council to have the letter ask for better policies to ensure Canadian fish caught at home is processed at home instead of somewhere overseas.

"An example is pink salmon is being frozen and sent to China, Vietnam, or the Philippines for processing. We're buying it back in Canada when it's processed in Asia. Those are our jobs. Those are Canadian jobs, those are good union jobs that support this community. We used to have 750 people working; this year had about 135 people working processing fish."

Thorkelson says residents have expressed a lot of interest in this topic as well.

"We're certainly hoping the people of Prince Rupert are writing letters to the minister. We know that there was a petition that had 35,000 signatures sent to the minister asking adjacency is a principle. What we're asking now is to enshrine this into the Fisheries Act."

She says the opportunity to make changes to the Fisheries Act is rare.

"The Fisheries Act has been only opened a few times since it was established in the 1800s. So really what we're asking while it's opened up is to ensure it protects the fish, but also ensure it's protecting the communities as well."

Thorkelson is also encouraging residents to send letters to express to the Fisheries Minister concerns they have with the current state of fishing.