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St. Laurent hoping to revive plans for fish processor

761788 (Small)A Winnipeg company wants to build a fish-processing plant near St. Laurent that would create more than 100 new jobs and help revive the commercial fishing industry on Lake Manitoba.

Although the proposal by CDF Community Development First has been in the planning and discussion stages for years, it has taken on new life with the recent election of a new provincial government.

The Progressive Conservatives promised during the election campaign that if elected, they would allow commercial fishermen to sell their catch to buyers other than the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corp. (FFMC). Under the current federal single-desk marketing system, the FFMC buys, processes, markets and exports most of the fish caught in the province.

CDF chief marketing officer Terry Szydlik said the firm has already sent an information package to Cathy Cox, the province’s new minister of sustainable development. Now it’s waiting to hear if the Pallister government will seek federal approval for Manitoba to opt out of the single-desk system.

“We’re just basically waiting for that to happen,” Szydlik said, adding the company has a business plan, has financing lined up, has selected a site, and has the support of the Rural Municipality of St. Laurent and the Lake Manitoba Commercial Fishermen Association

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