Looking for a license
Area strategically important for processing, deputy mayor Cyril Dalley says
Twillingate continues push for groundfish operation
The Town of Twillingate is still making working toward processing groundfish in the area.
According to deputy mayor Cyril Dalley, after a discussion at their most recent council meeting, the town’s priority now is to meet with Notre Dame Seafoods president Jason Eveleigh before the year is out.
“The fish plant is there, they own the plant and it would be ideal for [Notre Dame Seafoods] to go after government towards a groundfish license, which I think they would get,” said Dalley. “We’re awaiting the outcome of that meeting to see what direction and what avenues we can explore from there.”
Notre Dame Seafoods owns plants in both Twillingate and Comfort Cove-Newstead. The Twillingate plant, which formerly processed shrimp, has now been closed for two years after extensive cuts to the province’s shrimp fishery.
The Central Voice spoke with Eveleigh on the prospect of acquiring a ground license for the Twillingate plant. Eveleigh says he is interested in that possibility, and will be watching the science and quotas for codfish in the coming years.
“With the plant currently inactive, we’ve got a close eye on it,” Eveleigh said. “The resource is limited at this point in time. We’re following science to see if any positive news is going to surface.”
Dalley has been in continual contact with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union. He says the FFAW strongly supports a future groundfish operation for the Twillingate area.
FFAW representative Jason Spingle has worked closely with the town during the difficult times surrounding the plant’s closure. Given the area’s geographical location and history as a fishing outport, Spingle says Twillingate is a strategically important area for a rebounding ground fishery.
“It’s right there on the grounds of the northern cod, and given all the infrastructure and workforce that’s there, in a transition to a ground fishery I’d say Twillingate is one of the places that would be a key community,” Spingle says.
Dalley agrees that Twillingate should be a top priority location for any future investments.
“We don’t need to be shipping products all over the island when quality catch is what’s on everyone’s mind,” Dalley said. “We need processing in key geographical areas like Twillingate.”
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) unexpectedly cut this year’s cod quota by 25 per cent after a revelation the species suffered a 30 per cent loss in biomass, both of which stoked some fears in the talks of a rebounding cod fishery.
Cod in this year’s commercial fishery was caught so quickly, however it resulted in an early closure of the fall fishery.
Along with the signs of cod remaining strong, Spingle also sees the abundance of caplin this summer as a positive sign for the future.
“Right now we’re at 9,000 tonnes for [cod] quota,” he said. “The numbers we’d need for a groundfish operation in Twillingate and other communities is going to have to be significantly higher than that.
“We’ll see what the northern cod science brings us. In the not too distant future, I think we will be building towards those numbers.”
Fish, Food and Allied Workers union representative Jason Spingle says Twillingate would be a key strategic area for a rebounding ground fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Since this summer, the Town of Twillingate has been pushing for a groundfish processing operation in the area. For the past two years, the Notre Dame Seafoods shrimp plant in Twillingate has been inactive due to the extensive cuts to the shrimp fishery in recent years. From left to right, Coun. Wayne Greenham, Deputy Mayor Cyril Dalley and Coun. Lloyd Blake.