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Seeking solutions for unemployed Clarenville shrimp plant workers

Clarenville Mayor Frazer Russell says he’s already organizing a meeting to address the news that the Clarenville shrimp plant won’t open this season.

Clarenville Mayor Frazer Russell.

Russell told The Packet there is a need for the town to meet with representatives from the provincial government and fish plant management to discuss the current situation for local workers.

“Obviously, we are disappointed, as a town, that the plant is closing and up to 100 people will be unemployed because of that,” Russell said on Tuesday, following the regular meeting of the Clarenville Town Council.

News of the closure of the Clarenville plant was revealed Monday, when the union representing the workers was contacted by a company official earlier that morning.

Workers were advised soon after that by their union.

The Clarenville plant is one of two shrimp plants in the province owned by the Barry Group in the province. The other is in Anchor Point on the Northern Peninsula. According to information provided to The Packet from local sources, that plant will open this season for shrimp processing.

See related story: Barry Group won’t open Clarenville plant this year

The decision comes on the heels of a reduction in northern shrimp quotas, meaning less of a chance of procuring enough shrimp to open two plants for Barry Group.

“There’s certainly not a whole lot we can do in terms of enabling them to get more resources to be processed here,” said Russell. “That’s a quota issue that we don’t have a whole lot of say in. But certainly we would like to see some sort of income support discussed.”

Russell says he’s been in touch with Terra Nova MHA Colin Holloway, who has — in turn — talked to provincial fisheries minister Steve Crocker, and business and rural development minister Christopher Mitchelmore, to arrange to meet and discuss options.

“(We will) see what we can do in a very rapid fashion because there are people that are three or four weeks away from having no employment and no employment income and therefore it needs to be dealt with now and not three or four months down the road.”

Russell says he hopes the meeting will take place as soon as possible — potentially tomorrow.

MHA Holloway met with some of the Clarenville plant workers at his office on Monday afternoon and, according to his Facebook post yesterday, a meeting will be held Thursday at the Clarenville Town Hall involving town council representatives and the workers.

Twitter: @jejparsons

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