Grand Bank Seafoods granted sea cu­cum­ber li­cense

The Southern Gazette - - NEWS - BY CARL ROSE SPE­CIAL TO THE GAZETTE Carl Rose Pho­tos

Grand Bank District MHA Darin King brought good news to the work­ers at Grand Bank Seafoods and fish har­vesters in the re­gion dur­ing a press con­fer­ence Fri­day morn­ing.

He con­firmed that, based upon the rec­om­men­da­tion of the Fish­ery Pro­cess­ing Li­cens­ing Board, provin­cial Fish­eries Min­is­ter Keith Hutch­ings had ap­proved a sea cu­cum­ber li­cense for Grand Bank Seafoods.

The Grand Bank plant pro­duces mostly Arc­tic Surf clams and masago (capelin roe) for world mar­kets. It’s op­er­ated by Grand Bank Seafoods, a sub­sidiary of Clear­wa­ter Fine Foods of Nova Sco­tia.

Mr. King noted it is great news for the work­ers and the com­mu­nity to see the ap­proval of the cu­cum­ber li­cense for the lo­cal plant.

“The ad­di­tion of this species to their pro­duc­tion line will in­crease em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for the Clear­wa­ter plant. Fur­ther­more, it will pro­vide lo­cal fish har­vesters more op­por­tu­ni­ties to sell sea cu­cum­bers.”

In 2013, har­vesters in the area had no pro­ces­sor to buy their sea cu­cum­bers.

Grand Bank Mayor Rex Matthews sees this an­nounce­ment as the cul­mi­na­tion of a long term goal for the plant and the com­mu­nity.

“Five times we have gone to bat for this li­cense. Over these years, we have never lost hope; credit goes to a lot of people. You don’t achieve your goals by back­ing down.”

The mayor added since com­ing to Grand Bank over 23 years ago, Clear­wa­ter has been a great cor­po­rate cit­i­zen and a real leader in de­vel­op­ing new mar­kets for top qual­ity seafood.

“I am con­fi­dent Clear­wa­ter will add value to the sea cu­cum­ber re­source on the South Coast of New­found­land and Labrador. This will mean eco­nomic ben­e­fits for fish har­vesters, plant work­ers and the re­gion in gen­eral.”

Mayor Matthews com­mended Mr. King for his work on this is­sue, and the provin­cial govern­ment for its con­tin­ued sup­port of ini­tia­tives that strengthen the econ­omy in ru­ral ar­eas of the prov­ince.

Clear­wa­ter COO Eric Roe ex­pressed Clear­wa­ter’s de­light with the op­por­tu­nity to process sea cu­cum­bers and help grow the mar­ket for New­found­land and Labrador sea cu­cum­ber through­out the year.

“Clear­wa­ter is very pleased to be is­sued a pro­cess­ing li­cense for sea cu­cum­ber in Grand Bank. Sea cu­cum­ber is a nat­u­ral fit with Clear­wa­ter’s busi­ness given our ex­ist­ing sales and mar­ket­ing in­fra­struc­ture in Asia.

“We are con­fi­dent we can grow the mar­ket size and value of NL sea cu­cum­bers, and in the process grow the eco­nomic value of the en­tire fish­ery.”

Union lead­ers and work­ers are also pleased with the min­is­ter’s an­nounce­ment.

Charles Baker, pres­i­dent of the lo­cal Fish, Food and Al­lied Work­ers (FFAW) union thanked Mr. King and Mayor Matthews as well as is union col­leagues and work­ers for their sup­port.

He feels con­fi­dent the work­ers are up for this new chal­lenge.

“We have worked so hard over the years to try to get this li­cense. It’s like the old say­ing: ‘if at first you don’t suc­ceed, try and try again’. For us, as plant work­ers, this is an­other chal­lenge; that’s what we’re all about – chal­lenges.

“In 1991, we were is­sued with a chal­lenge when we got into the clams, we proved our­selves on that. Some­time later, we were of­fered an­other chal­lenge when we got into the masago, we proved our­selves on that. I have no doubt what­so­ever we will prove our­selves on cu­cum­bers too.”

Edgar Os­mond, a worked at the plant for 35 years sees this an­nounce­ment as an op­por­tu­nity for more work.

“We can al­ways use more work; it will mean more sta­bil­ity for us. I’m tick­led pink – any time there’s an an­nounce­ment for more work, it is good for us.”

An­other worker Dave War­ren, who has also worked at Clear­wa­ter for 35 years, hopes this will mean good things for ev­ery­one.

“I guess this is a pos­i­tive an­nounce­ment for us to­day – hav­ing a sea cu­cum­ber li­cense. What re­mains to be seen will this trans­late into more work for us. Hope­fully it will help off­set our down weeks like we are hav­ing right now.

“This is a win-win sit­u­a­tion for the fish­er­men, the town it­self and us, as em­ploy­ees. All that re­mains to be seen is how many weeks work this will trans­late into; hope­fully, it will give us some good in­come over the fol­low­ing years.”

Plant man­ager Tom Dun­phy said he’s pleased as well with the an­nounce­ment and look­ing for­ward to get­ting into the sea cu­cum­ber busi­ness.

Union rep­re­sen­ta­tive Charles Baker, Grand Bank Mayor Rex Matthews and plant man­ager Tom Dun­phy were ob­vi­ously pleased with Fri­day’s an­nounce­ment.

Plant work­ers and res­i­dents of Grand Bank re­sponded to the an­nounce­ment with a stand­ing ova­tion and ap­plause.

Grand Bank MHA Darin King an­nounced Grand Bank Seafoods has been granted a sea cu­cum­ber li­cense.

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