Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Offshoring, outsourcing, these are terms used for sending production abroad, leaving a country the hewers of wood and drawers of water, while secondary and tertiary production is done elsewhere and then the finished product is shipped back to the resource based country. Like Canada, and like the current crisis Newfoundland fishers find themselves in with the State Capitalist FPI a fish processing company now shipping Canadian Fish and jobs to China.

Unlike most private companies, FPI is governed – to some extent – by the Newfoundland and Labrador legislature. The FPI Act sets limits on individual ownership and, among other things, stipulates that the company be headquartered in St. John's. FPI was formed in 1984 as a Crown corporation, from the ashes of a number of private fish companies. It was launched as a publicly traded company in 1987. In 1990, declining fish stocks forced it to close three plants and develop a business plan that emphasized marketing over harvesting. FPI said it and other seafood producers are being hammered by fierce competition from low-cost processing plants in China, as well as other factors, including the high Canadian dollar.

So FPI in order to compete with China ships production there. Makes sense. NOT.

The Newfoundland and Labrador government plans to charge Fishery Products International for sending yellowtail flounder to China for processing, the fisheries minister said Tuesday. The company didn't obtain the required exemption under the Fish Inspection Act before shipping unprocessed fish out of the province, said Tom Rideout. "They shipped, and they shipped and they broke the law, and today they are under investigation and they'll be charged," Rideout told about 250 fish-plant workers protesting company plans to cut jobs and close plants in the Burin Peninsula.

But here is the reality that Canada's fishing production industry faces. Globalization. Capitalism has industrialized Fishing and Fishing production on a global basis. Local based secondary canning production etc. now faces Fordist production models.

But in reality, there is no Canadian seafood industry -- just a world industry. The typical fillet cooking on a North American grill has been harvested by a Russian trawler or raised in a Chilean fish farm, sent to China for gutting and filleting, and transported to Lunenburg, N.S., or Burin, Nfld., for slicing into portions, and neatly rolled, stuffed or slathered with sauce. The challenge is finding a profitable niche in this transnational supply chain. Sea change in the fisheries

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