23 March 2006

FPI responds to Rideout's allegations - the news release

ST. JOHN'S, March 23 /CNW/ - FPI Limited ("FPI" or "the Company") today responded to remarks by the Hon. Tom Rideout, provincial Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture ("the Minister").

The extraordinary and inflammatory statements, which were made by the Minister on Tuesday during his participation in a demonstration in front of the Company's head office, included the offensive allegation that FPI had deliberately contravened the Fish Inspection Act by exporting unprocessed fish. This is not true.

FPI states emphatically that its exports of non-commercial fish were carried out properly and in a manner completely consistent with the past practices of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture ("the Department") and the directives of its senior staff. Department officials were consulted specifically and repeatedly on this practice. Furthermore, any insinuation that the Company concealed or attempted to conceal any shipments is completely false. In addition to the consultation with Department officials, every pound of fish in every shipment was approved for export, duly documented, signed and sealed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Also on Tuesday, the Minister further alleged in a news release that FPI has been less than cooperative with the second phase of the provincial government's independent accounting review. This is simply wrong. FPI has cooperated fully throughout the process, and will continue to do so.

FPI formally briefed the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador on the magnitude of the challenges in the groundfish sector and their impact on the future operations on December 13, 2005. Since that time, related discussions have been held with both the Province and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union (FFAW/CAW). The goal of these discussions has been to arrive at a solution, with the participation of all stakeholders, that can re-establish economic viability in FPI's Burin peninsula operations while minimizing negative impacts on the workforce. FPI reiterates that it cannot and will not deliberately run operations that create losses averaging approximately $1 million per month.

Seemingly lost in the recent focus on public spectacle have been the objective facts of the current situation and the importance of a rational approach to external challenges that will not be diminished by being ignored.

It is simply not productive to attempt to vilify a company for dealing realistically and responsibly with a soaring Canadian dollar, high production costs, cheap foreign competition and inadequate raw material supply. These facts are real, they apply throughout the industry, and they must be addressed head on. FPI has been and remains prepared to show leadership to meet these challenges in its business. The goal cannot be achieved without constructive
government and union participation. The Company calls on the other stakeholders to refocus their energies on more constructive efforts on behalf of those who will be most dramatically affected if economic viability cannot be restored to operations on the Burin peninsula.


About FPI: FPI Limited is a Newfoundland and Labrador-based seafood company engaged in harvesting, processing, global sourcing, and marketing a wide selection of high quality seafood products.

FPI's core business is its Primary Group, which holds substantial rights to access a variety of quotas in Eastern Canada and operates its own fleet and processing plants. These plants are supplied by FPI's own vessels and from other harvesters.

Ocean Cuisine International, an operating division of FPI Limited, is headquartered in Danvers, Massachusetts and services foodservice, retail, and industrial customers throughout North America. Ocean Cuisine International is a leading source for seafood throughout North America, with solid processing and global seafood sourcing operations. It markets a wide range of finfish and shellfish products.

FPI Limited trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol FPL.