It has been three months since a fire totally destroyed the Quinlan Brothers Ltd. seafood processing plant in Bay de Verde, devastating the community and impacting the employment of about 700 workers.
On July 13, the company said during that period, it had worked with snow crab producers throughout the province to ensure that fish harvesters were serviced as normal.
“In addition, Independent Fish Harvesters Inc at Brigus and Green Seafoods Limited of Winterton, have accommodated Quinlan Brothers employees to provide ongoing employment to practically all displaced production workers at Bay de Verde. While the incomes of workers have been affected by that loss of the plant, they would have been provided employment to levels that will qualify them for EI benefits. Government officials remain in regular communication with the company to monitor employment levels of those affected,” the fish processor said in a press release.
Quinlan’s also said it continues to focus on the rebuilding of the Bay de Verde plant, adding that site remediation was completed in May. In addition, geotechnical surveys and in-ground infrastructure assessments are complete.
Quinlan’s said it has been working with the Marco Group, the selected builders of the new facility and an extensive engineering and design team to prepare for the commencement of onsite construction.
“The company has ordered the building, and foundations and site work are expected to commence in the coming days. The company plans to have a new snow crab processing facility ready for production by spring of 2017.”
Less than two weeks after the fire, Quinlan Brothers released expressions of interest (EOI) for seafood processing equipment, design, manufacture and supply, as well as for building engineering management, planning and design services.
Quinlan’s said it was seeking EOIs from qualified engineering firms to assist with the overall planning and management for the layout, design and construction of a new facility, adding that manufacturing capacity must be ready for the 2017 crab season.
The equipment EOI was also notable in that it included not only processing lines for both snow crab and Northern shrimp, but for the design/manufacture/supply of equipment for the processing of Atlantic groundfish as well. However, the July 13 update from the company did not provide the status of the shrimp or groundfish processing lines, only referring to crab.
The April 11 fire was first reported at 5:30 a.m. and quickly grew in intensity, fueled by strong westerly winds. In a few hours, the Town of Bay de Verde ordered a state of emergency and evacuation order that saw 300 homes emptied as firefighters from around the region battled the blaze at the Quinlan Brothers plant.
The large plant, one of the largest employers in the region, was just gearing up for the start of the crab season. Last year, the Bay de Verde plant processed more than 17 million pounds of crab.
While the fire was still smouldering, the company was making arrangements with other plants in the region and on the island to take its crab in order not to delay fishermen during the very lucrative fishery.