High Liner assisting small-scale partners in the Gulf of Maine
High Liner Foods hasn’t let its size and earnings prevent it from engaging with smaller-scale operations and fisheries.
The publicly traded company, based in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada, has used its resources to assist modest fisheries with lesser-known species, explained High Liner’s Bill DiMento during this week’s Future of Seafood conference, held in Boston, Massachusetts from 4 to 5 December at the Museum of Science.
“We have worked with smaller scale fisheries in the Gulf of Maine, and have stayed the course, although it didn’t seem very promising in the beginning," said DiMento, who oversees all of High Liner Foods' corporate-level Quality Assurance, Sustainability initiatives, and Government Affairs activities. "We’ve stayed this course with looking at how we can add some of our innovation to these small-scale fisheries."
DiMento referred to the Gulf of Maine’s dogfish fishery as a prime example of the kind of work that High Liner conducts with smaller-scale partners. A heavyweight in the seafood value-added category for both foodservice and retail, High Liner’s resource capacity extends out beyond processing into areas including culinology – something that proved a big help when the company was approached by Maine’s dogfish fishery, DiMento said.
“[The dogfish fishery] has a very good picture of health in the Gulf of Maine, but from a commercial stance, doesn’t have much processing,” he said. “High Liner is no longer a wetfish processor, but we were able to apply some of our culinology and some our innovation to the species working with some of our customers, and have launched – in a very commercial way – a local…underutilized species.”
By helping to launch dogfish onto dinner plates, High Liner and the fishery were able to take “some of the pressure off of some the other species like cod and haddock in the Gulf of Maine,” DiMento said.
Similar partnerships are definitely possible for High Liner in the future, DiMento added.
“We’re trying to do our part," he said. "It’s not easy, especially with smaller scale, but if the scale makes sense and our customers have interest and desire to bring variety to their tables, then we enjoy doing this."