Mayor Rex Matthews said he was encouraged following a meeting with Clearwater Seafoods Ltd. chief operating officer Eric Roe in Grand Bank earlier this month.
The Southern Gazette
The mayor, briefing fellow councillors during last week’s regular meeting, said Mr. Roe outlined several potential developments that could increase work at the company’s processing facility in the community.
Major among them, Mr. Matthews said Clearwater is planning on introducing a third vessel to supply the plant around the middle of next year.
“They’re pretty optimistic that there’s going to be a lot more work, once those three boats are on stream, in the community. That one (new) vessel alone is going to increase the production by 60 per cent.”
He added the company is also contemplating processing scallops once again at the facility this year and is considering increasing cold storage space in Grand Bank.
“There’s nothing firm on the scallops. That’s something they’re really looking into. We did that a number of years ago, but this year they’re really looking to get back into it, which would be really great for us.”
Deputy Mayor Clayton Welsh noted Mr. Roe assured council Grand Bank would continue to be the company’s only clam processing facility regardless of where the species is landed.
“There’s nothing firm on the scallops. That’s something they’re really looking into. We did that a number of years ago, but this year they’re really looking to get back into it, which would be really great for us.” – Rex Matthews
SEA CUCUMBER LICENCE
Meanwhile, Clearwater is also seeking a license to process sea cucumbers in Grand Bank.
Both Mayor Matthews, speaking for the town, and Mr. Roe, representing Clearwater, separately addressed the Fish Processing Licensing Board in St. John’s Mar. 6.
The mayor said the Board was generous with its time but described the process of going before the five-member panel to make a case “challenging,” given the various competing interests from areas all around the province.
“They had a lot of good questions they asked, and we did our best to reinforce (our position) from our point of view.”
Mr. Matthews recalled Clearwater had unsuccessfully applied for a sea cucumber license several times.
The mayor, who indicated the fisheries minister generally follows the recommendation put forward by the panel, suggested a decision could be expected in the coming weeks.
“All I can say is we did our best.”