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Huge decision to process salmon in Bay de Verde over St. Lawrence made without gov consultation—how?

That's the $64,000 question posed by St. Lawrence Mayor Kevin Pittman in a May 11th letter to Premier Andrew Furey. Grieg Seafood was all set to process farmed salmon at OCI's unionized plant in St. Lawrence until this past April when the company suddenly announced the processing work will be going to Quinlan Brothers' new non-unionized plant in Bay de Verde.

The inshore fleet of Bay de Verde, with the Quinlan Brothers Ltd. plant in the background.

Inshore enterprise owners in 3Ps — many of whom have wives and families who work at the St. Lawrence plant — are already pissed about the growing impact of at-sea aquaculture on wild fisheries, and the loss of processing work in St. Lawrence throws salt in the wound.

To quote the mayor's letter: "The concerns raised by residents include the fact that they cannot understand how the company can use our resources, our bays, and our oceans to farm their product but yet still be permitted to remove the product from the Burin Peninsula for further processing."

Another concern was raised over the use of foreign workers at the Bay de Verde "while our own Newfoundlanders are again without full-time employment."

The premier didn't respond to the mayor's letter, passing it on Derrick Bragg, then minister responsible for fish processing. (Bragg has since been replaced by Elvis Loveless.)

In his response letter, Bragg wrote his government is "not involved or engaged in such specific business decisions nor is the company required to consult with government on such business decisions."

Only the province has the power to deny a recent recommendation by the fish processing licensing board for the addition of salmonids (aquaculture) to the existing fish processing licence for Quinlan's Bay de Verde operation.

No approval, no salmon processing.

In its recommendation to approve aquaculture processing in Bay de Verde, the licensing board said there were no letters of opposition to Quinlan's application.

The premier/Bragg must not have passed on the mayor's letter to the board.

That still doesn't explain why the FFAW didn't formally object to the loss of potential loss of full-time unionized jobs in St. Lawrence.

Ryan Cleary,

Executive Director, SEA-NL

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is a professional, non-profit organization that serves as the distinct voice for licensed, independent owner-operator inshore fish harvesters. Visit to join. Contact me at or 709 682 4862.

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