Creation of Saskatchewan Fish Products and Saskatchewan Fish Marketing Board


In an attempt to regulate fisheries and establish a product of uniform quality, the CCF government created the Saskatchewan Fish Products board to operate filleting plants in the province, and later in the same year created the Saskatchewan Fish Marketing Board. Several shipments of fish had been refused at the American border, due to the presence of bacteria found in Saskatchewan lake fish, prompting the government to increase quality inspection and establish quality standards. The SFMB applied many of the same policies that the SFMS did to furs: licenses for local fishers and regulation of fish prices were central to their goals. In 1946, the board was reorganized with the creation of the Saskatchewan Lake and Forest Products Corporation, which included three divisions: fish, timber, and the Box Corporation. The goal of the board was to encourage participation in the fish industry, especially by Indigenous peoples, and to create a government monopoly over the sale and trade of fish. The board also established six stores throughout Northern Saskatchewan as a Crown corporation in order to regulate the purchase and sales of goods in the fishing industry. The board also effectively served as a social services board until it was eliminated in 1949 after years of deficit.                      

After the failure of the Saskatchewan Fish Market Board to stabilize fishing industries, it was reorganized in 1949 to create the Saskatchewan Fish Marketing Service. Fisheries were then structured by region, which were administered by one central administration. An interview with Berry Richards reveals that one purpose of the Fish Marketing Service was to give Indigenous fishermen a better price than paid by private fishing companies. However, this was not the case as many Indigenous fishermen reported that what they received from the Government was substantially less that what they received from private contractors. They were also unable to negotiate better prices for their catch, as they had with private buyers, because the Fish Marketing Service came from a top-down standardized approach which did not allow for negotiation. 



The top-down approach the CCF took towards fish marketing, despite intentions to assist Indigenous fishers, ultimately created problems from new restrictions with fishing permits. Indigenous fishers who had previously accessed many different lakes found that they were prevented from fishing if they did not have a permit to continue. This furthered barriers to food and engaging with livelihoods which supported life in the North. Fishing without permits could result in a fine, multiple fines over a period of time, or in some cases incarceration. Similar policies were replicated by the CCF in their implementation of the Fur Marketing Service, another poorly devised program that bought the lives of Indigenous people in the North under further scrutiny. Please see "CCF Social Programming and Erosion of Traditional Life in Northern Saskatchewan" which details how the implementation of these programs undermined Indigenous livelihoods and increased reliance on welfare and social services, an outcome the Provincial Government sought.   


  • Glenbow Archives, M125 James Brady Collection, v. III, "Correspondence, 1933-67," f. 22, "Norris 1945-67 (Mining and Native Rights)," M.F Norris to James Brady, December 5; S-M15, Box 7, "Fish Marketing, 1945-1946," April and May1948 Fish Board Operation Statement; S-M15, Box 8, "Lucas, A.A., Office Manager, Fish Board, 1946-1948," Lucas to Phelps, 24 January 1947; S-M15, Box 9, "Sask. Lake and Forest Products Corporation, 1946-1949," H.H Lucas, Address on mechanics of STB, 16 January 1948; J.F Gray to Phelps, 5 May 1947;
  • Thomas Hector Macdonald McLeod, "Public Enterprise in Saskatchewan: The Development of Public Policy and Administrative Controls" (PhD dissertation, Harvard University, 1959), 95.
  • Sask Sound Archives Program: Gus McDonald interview, 29 June 1977. 11-12.
  • Carl W. Christenson interview, IH-358, 12 August 1976. 3-4.
  • Saskatchewan Archives Board: S-M15, Box 6, "Fisheries, 1944-1946 (3)," Phelps to L.H Ausman, 19 September 1945
  • SM-15, Box 5, "Economic Advisory Board Recommendations, 1945-1946," DNR Activities Summary for 1945 and plan for 1946, 3
  • Richards, Berry. Interview by Murray Dobbin. Transcript. June 14, 1976. Virtual Museum of Métis History and Culture.Gabriel Dumont Institute.\
  • Quiring, David M. CCF Colonialism in Northern Saskatchewan. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2004. 128.
  • Piper, Liza. The Industrial Transformation of Subarctic Canada. Nature, History, Society. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2009. 218.


Sub Event
Establishment of Fish Marketing Board Stores in 1945. Reorganized as Saskatchewan Fish Marketing Services in 1949.