Storm on its way to Labrador

Jonathan Russell
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Fishery Union shrimp company acquires first factory freezer trawler

The Labrador Storm is on its way in from the Atlantic. The Labrador Fishermen's Union Shrimp Co. (LFUSC) recently purchased its first offshore shrimp factory freezer trawler, a 67-metre vessel christened by Father Des McGrath in St. John's June 12.

McGrath and Richard Cashin co-founded the Fishermen's Union and the Labrador Shrimp Co. 30 years ago.

"It was great; we haven't been involved with the (factory freezer trawler) before, and right now, with the market down, the prices down, if we get into it now, then once the prices start to rise we'll be able to make it," LFUSC president Frank Flynn said, explaining how owning the factory freezer trawler means the ship can achieve its quota and process the shrimp before returning to shore.

The Labrador Storm docked in St. John's last month. - Photo courtesy of Jim Wellman Navigator Magazine

The Labrador Storm is on its way in from the Atlantic. The Labrador Fishermen's Union Shrimp Co. (LFUSC) recently purchased its first offshore shrimp factory freezer trawler, a 67-metre vessel christened by Father Des McGrath in St. John's June 12.

McGrath and Richard Cashin co-founded the Fishermen's Union and the Labrador Shrimp Co. 30 years ago.

"It was great; we haven't been involved with the (factory freezer trawler) before, and right now, with the market down, the prices down, if we get into it now, then once the prices start to rise we'll be able to make it," LFUSC president Frank Flynn said, explaining how owning the factory freezer trawler means the ship can achieve its quota and process the shrimp before returning to shore.

"Right now, the boats are getting so few it's hard to get the shrimp caught, so we had to find some way to get it caught."

In the meantime, shrimp fishermen in the province are back on the water after the Fish, Food and Allied Worker's union and the province's seafood processors reached a tentative agreement on the price of shrimp Friday night.

Shrimp processors stopped production nearly two months ago, blaming a rising Canadian dollar combined with dwindling global demand for seafood.

The shutdown left shrimp fishing vessels tied up at wharves and up to 2,000 plant employees out of work.

A tentative pricing agreement - to be signed today - has been reached with the processors that will pay fishermen 42 cents per pound for shrimp,

The LFUSC is leasing the Labrador Storm for the next five years with the option to buy at any time.

"Depending on the market and everything else, we'll probably be buying it before that, or if it turns worse, we'll lease it for four or five years and then look at something else," Flynn said.

The Royal Greenland Co. previously owned the vessel, which was built in the 1980s.

The Labrador company, in a partnership with Nataaqnaq Fisheries Inc. from Iceland, owns 51 per cent of the shares.

The crew for the Labrador Storm will be Icelanders and Labradorians, who will combine for an average crew of 24 people. The captain and officers are Icelandic.

The LFUSC has two offshore shrimp licences - between 6,000 and 7,000 total tonnes.

The larger shrimp will be landed on the Island and transshipped to the market and the smaller shrimp will be cooked onboard with the shell on. It's usually marketed to Denmark.

Organizations: LFUSC, Union Shrimp Co., Labrador Shrimp Co. Royal Greenland Co. Nataaqnaq Fisheries

Geographic location: Labrador, Atlantic, St. John's Iceland Denmark

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Recent comments

  • bayman billy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Why couldn't the skilled jobs be filled Canadians? Is this the same union that was paid to lookout for the local people. At least the Labradorians didn't hire people from the island.

  • bayman billy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Why couldn't the skilled jobs be filled Canadians? Is this the same union that was paid to lookout for the local people. At least the Labradorians didn't hire people from the island.