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First Nation groups in Newfoundland and Labrador coming together to apply for new surf clam licence

['Qalipu']
['Qalipu']

The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band is looking at getting in on another fishing enterprise.

Earlier this year, Qalipu announced it was teaming up with the Barry Group in pursuing a quota to harvest ocean perch off western Newfoundland.

Monday, three Indigenous groups from Newfoundland and Labrador, including Qalipu, the Miawpukek First Nation and the Innu Nation, announced they will be partnering to apply for a new Artic surf clam licence being made available by the federal government.

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According to the release, the three entities have signed an agreement to unite and submit a proposal to a fourth Arctic surf clam license federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc recently said will be opened up in 2018.

This new partnership is a direct response to the reconciliation-based announcement by LeBlanc. Proponents vying for the licence must be from Canada’s Indigenous community and must be able to demonstrate how they would fully participate in the fishery.

The clam licence would be pursued in the adjacent waters off the south coast of the Newfoundland.

To meet the requirements set out by government, the First Nations of Newfoundland and Labrador will submit a comprehensive proposal that will include full participation in harvesting, marketing, processing and management of the clam resource off the adjacent shores of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Being successful would add a new and independent participant to the offshore clam fishery.

If the proposal is successful, the clam license will yield significant economic and employment benefits to First Nation communities in Conne River, Natuashish and Sheshatshiu, and to the Mi’kmaq communities represented by Qalipu First Nation. This will generate own-source revenue for the First Nations, result in direct employment on the harvesting vessel, expand existing employment in the offshore shrimp fishery and will include a comprehensive training program to expand First Nation employment at sea.

Processing of clams will also take place onshore in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The First Nation group will work with the Cooke Clam Group, which is owned by the Cooke family and Brian McNamara, for technical support. Cooke Clam Group will provide fisheries management, harvest and marketing advice and help them build capacity.

The new entrant to the Arctic surf clam fishery will be identified by way of an expression of interest and interested parties wishing to participate in this fishery must submit a written proposal on or before Nov. 2. The Arctic surf clam license will be issued to a new participant for the 2018 fishery.

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