Manitoba has requested a commitment from Ottawa to work with fishers in Manitoba who wish to market underutilized fish species, specifically carp and mullet, and to help them expand their markets during challenging economic times, Water Stewardship Minister Christine Melnick announced today. 

The Honourable Christine Melnick

“I have already received confirmation the federal Freshwater Fisheries Marketing Corporation (FFMC) is prepared to offer an expedited process for an export dealers license to fishers in Manitoba who wish to develop the market for carp and mullet,” said Melnick.  “Today, I have also written the federal minister asking for a commitment to go beyond simply issuing export dealers licences by assisting fishers to develop new and emerging markets for underutilized fish.” 

The commercial fishing industry in Manitoba generates more than $50 million in economic activity each year and many long-time fishers have over 50 years experience. Manitoba supports the fishing industry, which includes more than 3,000 commercially licensed fishers, assistants and FFMC employees. 

“Last fall, I wrote the federal minister in charge of the FFMC to ask for greater flexibility and the changes have been implemented,” said Melnick.  “There is now a five-year license renewal policy and greater flexibility for export dealers licences and our government stands behind all of Manitoba’s commercial fishers, who form the lifeblood of many of the communities in our province.”  

Manitoba has also requested the federal government reinstate federal funding for the Northern Fisherman’s Freight Assistance Program, which provides transportation subsidies to ensure that remote, northern fisheries remain viable.  The federal government dropped support for this program in 1993 and, since then, Manitoba has doubled its freight assistance to northern fishers to ensure they continue to provide healthy and highly valued fish from sustainable wild fisheries to the world’s markets, said Melnick. 

The province is also exploring ways to support researchers in Manitoba to process underutilized rough fish such as carp and mullet into high-value organic fertilizer, cosmetic oils and other products.