Shrimp quota cuts bleak news for Clarenville area workers


Published on March 31, 2017

A still image froma YouTube video — Cold Water Shrimp Fishery - Port aux Choix, NL
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fLIXk3FkuE

CLARENVILLE — The future of the Clarenville shrimp plant looks bleak following the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announcement of a 63-per-cent cut to inshore northern shrimp quota in Area 6. 

Bill Barry, owner of the Barry Group.
Shawn Hayward photo

The plant, which is owned by Bill Barry of the Corner Brook-based Barry Group, did not open last season thanks to the cuts to the shrimp quotas.

Barry, decided to close the Clarenville plant and move all inshore shrimp to the plant in Port aux Choix for processing.

It meant the approximately 100 workers at the Clarenville operation had to scrambling to find work.

Although there’s been no official statement from the Barry Group following DFO’s announcement about this year’s shrimp quotas, it is worrisome news.

Vera Cramm of North West Brook worked at the Clarenville plant for 25 years.

She, like her co-workers, had to look for other work.

She says that several former plant employees found work at Icewater Seafoods in Arnold's Cove.

" I took a home care job with a woman in Shoal Harbour," Cramm told TC Media Friday.

The woman that Cramm was caring for passed away in January.  Cramm has been without work since.  Without employment, she is depending on Canada Pension and unemployment insurance for her income.

"I won't be 63 until July; if I had got a another couple years at the fish plant, I would have been happy. But it never worked that way.  The plant closed (and) they never even told us it was going to close, and we never had any idea it was going to close.  After 25 years of working there, there wasn’t much thanks or appreciation.”

So now she’s back to looking for work.

Cramm says that things will only get harder if she can’t find another job.

"I only get unemployment until September , and what I got to live on then is $500 a month [Canada pension) . . . I got to live. I got to eat.  I got to pay the lights."

And what happens next?

"I don’t know.  I really don't know,” she said.

Meanwhile, Clarenville Mayor Frazer Russell says the news of more shrimp quota cuts this year is disappointing.

"We were hoping at some point that plant would reopen. Any news that there has been a reduction in the quota obviously would mean that there would not be a supply for the Barry Group to keep the Clarenville plant open.

“I know some workers were able to find work (last year) in other plants and find work elsewhere, and some workers were able to go back to school and retrain.

“But we always hope in the back of our mind that the day would come when it opened again.”

For now, he says, the town has to wait and see what long-term plans the Barry Group might have for the plant on Marine Drive.

" We'd like to see a vibrant plant opened there again.  But if there are cuts in quotas then the likelihood of that reopening is not all that great,” the Mayor said.

 

Mark.Squibb@tc.tc

Twitter: @nlpacket