The enterprise released a notice to the St. Anthony and Area Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday requesting expressions of interest from anyone who may want to make an offer to SABRI to purchase the operation – including both the farms and the processing plant.
SABRI said it would be accepting requests in writing until noon on June 9.
“If there’s no interest, I guess there’ll be no mussels,” said SABRI executive director Sam Elliott.
Elliott told the Northern Pen the decision had to be made due to the loss of revenue generated from the cut to their shrimp allocation.
“The mussel farm was never a profitable industry for us,” he said.
“It created employment for three people, and we offered service to the local economy and the tourist industry in the summer by having the fresh mussels available.
“With the significance loss of quota, from 3,000 tonnes to 468 tonnes (over two years), and a loss of revenue, it was just not sustainable for us. In fact, there are a lot of things we’ll probably not be able to do.”
According to Elliott, with this dramatic loss in revenue, the entire structure of SABRI is going to have to change. It is impossible to continue operating as they did before, he said, adding this was just the first decision that had to be made.
“You look at all the grants and scholarships and stuff like that. If we don’t have the revenue, we’re not going to be able to get them out,” he said. “These decisions haven’t been formally made yet, but the mussel farm is the start.”
Elliott said the decision to discontinue mussel farming will not impact the production of their blue mussel powder weight loss supplement.
The enterprise has been looking for a company to partner with to take that product to market and has reached a stage where it can be processed at other locations.
Therefore, the St. Lunaire-Griquet processing facility isn’t needed for its continued development.