On Sunday, Aug. 6, the Labrador Fishermen’s Union Shrimp Company Ltd. (LFUSC) reached a preliminary agreement with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union and St. Anthony Seafoods Inc. to purchase and process cod caught in NAFO Division 3K.
The three groups met, with a number of fishermen attending, at the Hotel North in St. Anthony.
Under the preliminary agreement, harvesters will unload the cod in Goose Cove and St. Lunaire-Griquet, and it will then be shipped by truck to St. Barbe. There, it will be transported across the Strait of Belle Isle by ferry, to be processed at the LFUSC plant in L’Anse au Loup.
According to St. Anthony cod fisherman Wilf Alyward, who attended the meeting, Icewater Seafoods in Arnold’s Cove bought the cod from them last year, but they were unable to reach an agreement for the 2017 season. He explains that they couldn’t handle the quantities given the increased catch rates in their area this year.
But Alyward says the decreased distance the cod will have to travel will improve its quality and value. It would take about 10 hours to truck the cod to the Icewater plant in Arnold’s Cove last year. Now, it will take approximately four hours to reach the processing facility in L’Anse au Loup.
“The fish loses its value with the long trucking,” he said. “So, hopefully, (when) we get it over there (L’Anse au Loup), we’ll get a better price because the fish should be better quality.”
LFUSC general manager Gilbert Linstead anticipates this will bring more work to the plant in L’Anse au Loup in what has been a down season thus far.
“It’s (the cod) a surplus right now and we’re hoping to help, and at the same time, help our employees this year because it’s been a down year for us,” he told the Northern Pen.
“The cod hasn’t come, the turbot didn’t come, and the capelin didn’t come,” he continued. “So we’re looking around, trying to find new avenues, new supplies, and if it’s available, certainly we’re going to be reaching out for it. “We’re hoping to access this and hopefully it’ll be fairly busy over the next few weeks.”
Linstead says the agreement is preliminary because they’ll be looking to evaluate whether or not the arrangement is effective before deciding whether to continue it.
Ken Fowler, assistant general manager, represented LFUSC at the meeting; Caroline Davis, general manager, represented St. Anthony Seafoods; and Jason Spingle, staff representative, was present for the FFAW.