ST. LAWRENCE, N.L.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Ocean Choice International (OCI) chief operating officer Blaine Sullivan is concerned with the federal government decision to issue a quota for sea cucumber to a company in the province.
“I hear there’s a rumour,” said Sullivan, “but we really don’t know what’s happening, if there’s some specific quota or not.
“Our big concern is that we would have a fair chance to compete for it.”
The company processes sea cucumbers at their production facility in St. Lawrence where upwards of 100 people are employed.
“We’ve invested heavily into our St. Lawrence operation and we just want to make sure that we have an opportunity to keep it operating and have it sustainable,” Sullivan stressed.
There is also another concern.
“The problem that we have with it is, they could also leverage our boats away,” he noted.
Sullivan said with no firm numbers in place of what a quota could look like, it is hard to provide a comment.
“We’d like to see some transparency, it’s difficult to comment on a rumour,” he said.
Bonavista-Burin-Trinity MP Churance Rogers also weighed in on the matter.
“I have expressed my concerns,” Rogers told The Southern Gazette. “I have been dealing with that issue over the last week or so with the new minister.
“I have numerous concerns and we’re now having discussions and I continue to express those concerns on behalf of industry, of harvesters and the union leadership in the province.”
No decision made
Kevin Guest, communications advisor (Fisheries Management) with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, explained in an e-mail to The Southern Gazette on Wednesday, Sept. 19, that no decision has been made at this point regarding sea cucumbers.
“We understand there is significant interest in Sea Cucumber allocations,” read the statement. “The Department has received extensive feedback on the potential allocation of Sea Cucumber.
“DFO considers the feedback and viewpoints of all of our stakeholders very carefully when making these decisions. Before any new allocations are harvested, the Department is taking the time necessary to consider all relevant factors. Any decision will be communicated broadly when available.”