Quin-Sea, Clearwater JV processing project advances in Newfoundland

Published on
September 18, 2020

Nearly six months after it publicized a joint venture project to take over a fish-processing plant in St. Anthony, Newfoundland, Canada, Quin-Sea Fisheries Ltd – a division of Royal Greenland – and Clearwater Seafoods have announced its application has received a green light from the Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Fisheries, Forestry, and Agriculture.

On 15 January, Bedford, Nova Scotia, Canada-based Clearwater Seafoods and St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada-based Quin-Sea announced the formation of a joint venture to take over the operation of the St. Anthony Seafoods Limited Partnership shrimp plant. The new joint venture is intended to utilize the facility at a time when the shrimp fishery in the region has declined, and raw material supply has been reduced.

The official closure of the transaction was initially expected on 31 March, but had been delayed due to complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Fisheries, Forestry, and Agriculture’s approval of the companies’ application to transfer the processing license “allows the companies to move forward with their new JV, in which Quin-Sea Fisheries Ltd will assume management responsibility for the plant on behalf of the new joint venture, St. Anthony Seafoods Ltd.,” the firms said in a joint statement.

“The new Joint Venture will enhance the economic viability of the St. Anthony operation and benefit the local community,” they said. “With this regulatory approval, Clearwater and Quin-Sea are now eager to move forward and work together with local stakeholders to ensure a smooth operational transition and work to position the plant for a successful 2021 season.”

Quin-Sea and Clearwater said the plant’s location on the Great Northern Peninsula, along with its experienced workforce, gives the facility an advantage in maintaining profitability at a time when the northern shrimp fishery “has declined significantly and raw material supply to the plant has been reduced.”

“This transaction brings together the operational expertise and market reach of two leading companies, better matching plant capacity to the available resource in a new joint venture company,” they said.

Clearwater said it sought out Quin-Sea as a partner in order to take advantage of its history of operating similar processing facilities in the area.

“We are pleased to bring a new partner into the St. Anthony plant who is an experienced Newfoundland operator that understands the importance of local commitment and local investment,” Clearwater Seafoods CEO Ian Smith said. “The transaction enhances the economic viability of the St. Anthony operation and benefits the local community."

Quin-Sea Fisheries has been a part of the Newfoundland seafood industry for more than 30 years and currently operates six land-based factories across the province, including Old Perlican, Southern Harbour, New Harbour, Cupids Cape Broyle, and Conche. It was purchased by Nuuk, Greenland-based Royal Greenland AS in 2016.

"This marks a good day for future seafood investments in Newfoundland and Labrador. Our new JV will bring a stable and long-term operation for the benefit of the partners, the employees, and the communities of the Northern Peninsula." Quin-Sea Fisheries Managing Director Simon Jarding.

However, workers at Quin-Sea’s seafood-processing facility at Black Duck Cove, Newfoundland, which burned down in May 2019, are concerned that Quin-Sea’s investment in the St. Anthony facility signals it does not intend to rebuild the lost factory. The facility employed 50 to 75 workers before it was destroyed.

"Now you imagine, a new company for St. Anthony, and [they] take the insurance money they got for the plant in Black Duck Cove and and invest it in St. Anthony, and the workers in Black Duck Cove get nothing,” said Millie Dredge, a former employee at the Black Duck Cove facility and local resident, told the CBC.

Photo courtesy of EB Adventure Photography/Shutterstock

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