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Shrimp plant workers optimistic following deal

St. Anthony Seafoods employs approximately 90 people in St. Anthony and the surrounding area. Cuts in the shrimp quota have negatively impacted the plant’s production.
St. Anthony Seafoods is one of the plants that can expect to produce more industrial shrimp this summer, thanks to a deal reached between offshore shrimp companies and shrimp processors. - Stephen Roberts

Agreement may see additional 6,000 to 7,000 tonnes of industrial shrimp processed in NL

A St. Anthony Seafoods plant worker calls an arrangement to process industrial shrimp great news for plant workers across the province.

Up to 6,000 to 7,000 extra tonnes of industrial shrimp will be processed in the province this year, thanks to a recent agreement between offshore shrimp companies and onshore shrimp processors.

Trudy Byrne, a St. Anthony plant worker, says the increased access to industrial shrimp will bring extra work to people like herself.

“They didn’t have to give the province opportunity first and now they do,” said Byrne. “It’s awesome news for us as plant workers.”

As of April 15, offshore shrimp companies landing industrial shrimp will give five days’ notice to onshore processors, advising the vessel’s estimated landing date and port, volume of industrial shrimp on board and the price.

Onshore processors who wish to purchase that industrial shrimp will submit an expression of interest.

Previously there was no established formal process governing the sale of industrial shrimp in the province.

“The vast majority of industrial shrimp was shipped out of the province for processing elsewhere,” the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources wrote in a statement to The Northern Pen. “This new arrangement sets the specific, jointly agreed-upon, terms and conditions for the sale of industrial shrimp from offshore harvesters to processors.”

The announcement noted offshore vessels landed approximately 30,000 tonnes of frozen-at-sea shrimp in 2018. 

Trudy Byrne, a plant worker from St. Anthony, is pleased with the arrangement, believing it will bring extra work.
Trudy Byrne, a plant worker from St. Anthony, is pleased with the arrangement, believing it will bring extra work.

However, industrial shrimp (smaller shrimp, frozen with shell on and sold at a lower market value) makes up a small portion of the shrimp processed in the province.

A spokesperson for the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources told The Northern Pen the amount of industrial shrimp processed in the province over the past three years has ranged from 450 to 1,000 tonnes.

The department estimates an additional 6,000 to 7,000 tonnes of industrial shrimp will be available to processors through the new arrangement.

The department added the amount of work generated for plant workers will depend on the efficiency of each processing facility, the number of workers, or the type of equipment in use.

The general rule is that 1,000 tonnes of industrial shrimp will provide approximately 10 days of work with two shifts (80 people).

There are currently seven shrimp processing facilities in the province; they are located in St. Anthony, Black Duck Cove, Anchor Point, Port au Choix, Charlottetown, Fogo and Old Perlican.

A spokesperson for Clearwater Seafoods, 75 per cent owners of St. Anthony Seafoods, told The Northern Pen the company was fully engaged in the discussions.

The company said it processes industrial shrimp in St. Anthony when the market conditions for a double frozen product permit.

“It can be a good supplement for the operation given the declining quota supply,” they wrote.

stephen.roberts@northernpen.ca

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