Protesting Newfoundland Fish Plant Closures

January 12, 2012, 12:15 PM EST

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More than 200 FFAW/CAW members, family and other supporters crowded in front of the Ocean Choice International offices in Paradise, Newfoundland and Labrador to protest the closure of the Marystown and Port Union fish plants.

In early December of 2011 OCI announced the closure of the two plants, which resulted in the loss of hundreds of jobs in both communities.

"Each and every time they say 'free trade,' every time they say 'deregulate,' every time they say 'give us a temporary exemption,' every time they say 'give us more,' it's never enough," CAW President Ken Lewenza was quoted in a St. John's Telegram story.

Lewenza blasted the provincial government urging more leadership including passing stronger legislation to protect workers. He said the protest was about the need to manage natural resources in the interests of the people of the province, not for corporations.

FFAW/CAW President Earle McCurdy called on the provincial government to protect Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries and keep fisheries work in the province.

"We're at a fundamental turning point in terms of the history and the economy of coastal communities in this province. This is about nothing less than whether or not there will be a fish processing sector in our future in this province," he was quoted in The Telegram.

The province announced recently that it will not grant OCI a permanent exemption to minimum fish processing requirements at Newfoundland facilities for redfish or yellowtail. But the protestors were cautioned by speakers that the province may still give away the resource by piecemeal through temporary exemptions.

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