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Sullivan brothers, Martin and Blaine, back in seafood news for going at it in OCI boardroom

Martin and Blaine Sullivan, the Southern Shore brothers who run Ocean Choice International (OCI) — one of the largest seafood quota holders in Canada, with 1,700 employees, five offshore draggers, and plants in this province and Nova Scotia —are back in the international seafood news for their boardroom bouts.

OCI is run by brothers Martin and Blaine Sullivan, who each reportedly own 50% of the company. OCI sold its Port aux Choix shrimp plant this past summer to the Barry Group.



Undercurrent seafood news outlet published an article today about how the the rift between the two brothers has left an almost $18-million seafood packaging plant the company is building in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia in limbo two years after the project began.


(The Dartmouth project is supported with millions in federal cash that should have went to Newfoundland and Labrador, but I'll come back to that.)


Martin reportedly runs the Nova Scotia project while Blaine has been the lead on OCI's controversial $20-million finger pier/cold storage building/parking lot in Long Pond, Conception Bay South.


That project is also "bogged down in legal tangles."


According to the article, the brothers were supposed to report to each other on either project on a quarterly basis, but hadn't been doing so.


At issue is the fact that neither brother supposedly has controlling interest in the company — meaning neither brother can "outvote" the other.


Under the terms of the company's dispute resolution process, when the parties cannot agree to an arbitrator one is to be appointed by the courts.


In a statement to Undercurrent, OCI said an arbitrator had been appointed last February, resulting in a positive settlement. "At this time we have no further information to provide."


The Calvert is the newest factory-freezer trawler in OCI's fleet. Besides the product landed by its five offshore trawlers, OCI buys fish from 1,900 small-boat fishermen/women in the province, and operates plants in Bonavista, Fortune, St. Lawrence and Triton.



SEA-NL first wrote about the dispute between the Sullivan brothers last March: Sullivan brothers go at it over Ocean Choice International's Dartmouth, Nova Scotia plant following local media reports.


An estimated $10 million for the Dartmouth project is coming from government — including $8 million from the Atlantic Fisheries Fund, and another $2 million from ACOA (the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency).


The Atlantic Fisheries Fund was initially proposed to compensate Newfoundland and Labrador for giving up a constitutional right (minimum processing requirements) as part of the Canada/EU free trade deal, but was later expanded to include the four Atlantic provinces.




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 sea-nl.ca to join. If you have any issues contact me at sea-nl@outlook.com or 709 682 4862.


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