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Boxes of Artic surf clams are stacked on a pallet for shipping at Clearwater Seafoods plant in Grand Bank.
Arctic surf clams are prepared for shipment at the Clearwater Seafoods plant in Grand Bank. - SaltWire Network file photo

OTTAWA – A new Arctic surf clam licence will not be issued this year.

The federal government has cancelled the process to issue a new licence to Five Nations Clam Company that was announced back in February, according to a statement from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) today, Aug. 10.

The move was made in early July and the reasons subsequently shared with the company, the statement indicated.

In announcing the new licence, DFO also said 25 per cent of the existing quota for the species would be transferred to the new entrant.

Up until the announcement, Clearwater Seafoods held the only three licences for Arctic surf clams and processed the species at its facility in Grand Bank.

The federal government attributed the new licence and quota transfer as part of a process of Indigenous reconciliation.

The statement indicated the remaining 25 per cent of the 2018 total allowable catch (TAC) may be made available following discussions with Clearwater.

“In order to move forward on implementing enhanced access and promoting reconciliation, we will be launching a new Expression of Interest process to identify a holder for the fourth license for this fishery in the spring of 2019, so that the participant can begin fishing the new license in 2020,” the statement reads.

An independent third party will assess the submissions and make recommendations to DFO.

“This new process will once again focus on confirming and validating the specific direct and significant benefits that will flow to Indigenous communities, as well as the proponents' readiness to implement their submissions,” the statement adds.

Bonavista-Burin-Trinity MP Churence Rogers was pleased with the decision.

"This is great news for the plant workers in Grand Bank and the people on the Burin Peninsula," he said in a release.

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