SABRI hoping for new allocation
Enterprise in tough position, MHA Mitchelmore still optimistic about its prospects
St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc. (SABRI) is looking for a new resource, but it’s not getting anything yet from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).
SABRI has applied for various allocations since its shrimp allocation in fishing area 6 saw a substantial cut this fishing season.
Over two years, the social enterprise has gone from an allocation of 3,000 tonnes to 468 tonnes.
SABRI had operated on the 3,000-tonne quota for 20 years. Now, it has to look for an alternative source of revenue.
But applications for other fish species thus far have been declined by DFO.
Executive director Sam Elliott points out that in its 20 years of operation, SABRI has invested in St. Anthony and area in a number of important ways.
The group has built infrastructure, including wharves, cold storage, and crab and shrimp plants.
“How did this organization become successful?” asks Elliott. “In my mind, it’s because we had an allocation, a revenue source, that we could get things done with.”
Elliott said SABRI won’t be able to make these kinds of contributions to the region anymore without a revenue source.
He is hoping to receive an allocation to continue operations in the region.
Acknowledging the work SABRI has done, St. BarbeL’Anse aux Meadows MHA Christopher Mitchelmore, who is also the province’s minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, calls SABRI “one of the greatest examples of social enterprise in our province.”
He says cuts in the shrimp industry, including SABRI’s, will have a “trickle-down effect” throughout the entire economy.
But while he’s concerned about the cut, he still feels optimistic about SABRI.
Mitchelmore says he has been meeting with SABRI to discuss the issues and the enterprise’s future endeavours.
He encourages SABRI to do two things.
to continue to lobby the federal government for a quota allocation to increase its revenue stream.
Secondly, he believes SABRI needs to diversify its current operations by looking at other business opportunities.
He says it can use its savings to invest in possible ventures.
Mitchelmore cites the blue mussel product SABRI has been working on as an example.
“They can continue to take some of their initiatives, such as their blue mussel powder, and expand that into a line of nutraceuticals and create longterm, predictable royalties,” he said. “Things that can certainly be in their control, as an organization, for the long term.”
He contrasts that to relying on an industry like the fishery, where the markets are more cyclical.
These are decisions, Mitchelmore says, the board and management of SABRI will have to make. But he’ll be willing to continue working with the group and forging ahead.
“The management and the board at SABRI…will have to make a determination as to how they’re going to further diversify their revenue stream for the long term so they can continue to do the great work that they do for the communities and the region of which they serve,” said Mitchelmore.
“And I’m willing to work with the board and the management and all of those are impacted, as the MHA.”