SABRI hop­ing for new al­lo­ca­tion

En­ter­prise in tough po­si­tion, MHA Mitchelmore still op­ti­mistic about its prospects

Nor'wester (Springdale) - - EDITORIAL - BY STEPHEN ROBERTS

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.

Firstly, he

says

it needs

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.”

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