Grand Falls-Windsor -
Why would a town noted for its historic ties to forestry join forces with aquaculture businesses from coastal communities?
Because aquaculture is becoming a major industry in the province, and those businesses often have to go outside their own area for supplies and services.
Enter the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor. Earlier this month, it got together with the Coast of Bays Corporation to host an aquaculture business partners session at the Mount Peyton Hotel.
More than 40 people gathered together to discuss possibilities for co-operation and to network.
Terry Mills of NorAtlantic Processors in Pleasantview, near Point Leamington, said he found the sessions informative. His business produces and processes the mussels he grows and harvests.
"I deal already with many of the businesses featured here, but it's always good to meet and network with people in the industry," he said.
Another business represented was electrical distributor Harris & Roome/Graybar. Branch manager Gord Smith said he's been working with businesses in the aquaculture industry for years.
"We've been here in Grand Falls-Windsor for more than 25 years, and we've been providing to the aquaculture industry for many years," he said.
"Coming here to the sessions, well, we have many of our contacts established, but we get to make new ones and it's good to keep our faces and names out there as a supplier. And you pick up a lot of information yourself when you go to a forum."
Some of the businesses at the session are fish-farming veterans, such as Cooke Aquaculture, a player in the field for decades.
"Aquaculture has been an important part of the Newfoundland economy for quite a while," said Damon Woodland of Cold Ocean Salmon, which is affiliated with Cooke.
"It's great to meet people from some of the businesses we deal with."
Grand Falls-Windsor economic development officer Gary Hennessey, who helped organize the day-long conference, said he was impressed with the turnout and the mix of people there.
There were not only aquaculture businesses and service company reps, but also federal and provincial officials and members of the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA).
"There are lots of opportunities on the south coast, and several businesses here have already taken advantage of them," Hennessey said.
Cyr Coutuerier, NAIA's executive director, said such seminars are informative and give businesses a chance to be aware of the opportunities presented by the aquaculture industry.