Clam up

Louis­bourg Seafoods owner says Arc­tic surf clam li­cence could mean big busi­ness for Cape Bre­ton

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE smont­gomery@cb­post.com

Louis­bourg Seafoods owner says Arc­tic surf clam li­cence could mean big busi­ness for Cape Bre­ton

A ma­jor Cape Bre­ton em­ployer de­scribes the an­nounced ex­pan­sion of the Arc­tic surf clam fish­ery as a “ma­jor step for­ward for eastern Nova Sco­tia.”

“This li­cence is ex­tremely mean­ing­ful. We must work very hard to make sure we’re the com­pany ac­cepted for the li­cence so we can bring jobs to Cape Bre­ton,” said Jim Kennedy, owner and founder of the Kennedy Group, which in­cludes Louis­bourg Seafoods, Ka’Le Bay Seafoods, Canso Seafoods Ltd. and a fleet of fish­ing ves­sels.

“This li­cence should be a $30mil­lion-a-year busi­ness. It would bring an enor­mous boost to the econ­omy in Cape Bre­ton Is­land and to the work­ers.”

Fish­eries and Oceans Min­is­ter Gail Shea an­nounced the 2016 fish­ery will see an in­crease in the to­tal al­low­able catch of off­shore Arc­tic surf clam from 38,756 tonnes to 52,655 tonnes on the Ban­quereau Bank and Grand Banks, al­low­ing a new en­trant or new en­trants into the Arc­tic surf clam fish­ery.

Kennedy said the li­cence would mean 250 full-time jobs be­tween fish­ing and pro­cess­ing.

“We’ve been deep into it for the past eight years, try­ing to con­vince the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to al­low more peo­ple into the fish­ery,” he said.

“We’re ex­tremely pleased with what the min­is­ter has done for an eco­nomic em­ploy­ment ini­tia­tive.”

Kennedy said they be­lieve they are a strong con­tender for the li­cence.

“We have ad­ja­cency to the fish­ery, we are in Louis­bourg and we have a plant in Canso — both places were ad­ja­cent to Ban­quereau.”

“History — our com­pany has li­cence that we fished ground­fish for 35 years that went into mora­to­rium in 1992, so we have a ma­jor pile of history on Ban­quereau fish­ing ground­fish from the ‘70s to the ‘90s un­til they shut it down in 1992. Ad­ja­cency and history be­ing two ma­jor parts of it, I think is go­ing to be a great thing for us.”

In or­der to be ready for the clam fish­ery, he said it will take six months to a year to pre­pare to start pro­cess­ing off­shore clams.

Dan­nie Hansen, a team leader with the Kennedy Group, said the crab, which would prob­a­bly be 90 per cent an Asian mar­ket and 10 per cent a U.S. mar­ket, goes well with the free trade Pa­cific agree­ment.

Hansen said the stew­ard­ship of the species is key.

“We are al­ready in Marine Stew­ard­ship Coun­cil in our shrimp. We would have no prob­lem at all to con­tinue Marine Stew­ard­ship Coun­cil on this species to en­sure the species is pro­tected ac­cord­ing the coun­cil’s stan­dards and these stan­dards are done with mul­ti­ple li­cence hold­ers, not just one.”

In a press re­leases on Shea’s an­nounce­ment, an in­te­grated fish­eries man­age­ment plan pro­vi­sion for new en­trants has been trig­gered and Fish­eries and Oceans Canada is be­gin­ning a process to in­tro­duce a new en­trant or new en­trants to the fish­ery. This process in­cludes con­sul­ta­tion with the cur­rent li­cence holder, in­dus­try and First Na­tions. Li­cence hold­ers will be re­quired to en­gage in, and con­trib­ute to, the ex­pan­sion of the science ba­sis for en­hanced man­age­ment of this fish­ery, in­clud­ing costs.

“This ex­pan­sion of the off­shore Arc­tic surf clam fish­ery will lead to new and sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic ben­e­fits for At­lantic Canada, as well as a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of off­shore clam species,” said Shea.

SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Patty Mac­Don­ald, a labourer with Ka’Le Bay Seafoods, part of the Kennedy Group, un­loads red­fish at the plant in Glace Bay on Mon­day. The Kennedy Group is ap­ply­ing for an Arc­tic surf clam fish­ery li­cence, which would mean up­wards of 250 more jobs be­tween fish­ing and pro­cess­ing.

SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Jim Kennedy, left, founder of the Kennedy Group, and Jan Voutier, man­ager of the ground­fish op­er­a­tion, walk across the wharf at Ka’Le Bay Seafoods in Glace Bay on Mon­day.

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