7 fish plants declared permanently closed
The Newfoundland and Labrador government says a ministerial committee has received "final written confirmation" that fish plants in seven rural towns are permanently closed.
The list includes plants in five communities where different owners over the last six months have said they cannot keep the plants open. The communities are Burin, Marystown, Port Union, Black Tickle and St. Lewis.
But the list also confirms that plants in two communities — Jackson's Arm and Little Bay Islands that have been idle for the last two years — will never reopen.
Vincent Parsons, deputy mayor of Jackson's Arm, said the mood in the White Bay community is sombre with confirmation that the shrimp plant is gone.
"It's not very good for the economy here. A lot of young people don't know what they're going to do," said Parsons.
The plan had provided seasonal work for about 120 people. A crab plant in the community is still in business.
The government said the confirmation of the closures has come from companies as well as union and community officials.
"When fish plants close, due to economic factors or resource availability, communities are understandably thrust into a state of disbelief and uncertainty," Fisheries Minister Darin King said in a statement.
The five-member ministerial committee said its role is to help workers find new opportunities.
The government "will help individuals find new employment, secure short-term insurable hours to qualify for employment insurance, and support to retrain or upgrade skills," a statement said.
In particular, government will be offering as much as 14 weeks of work that will help displaced workers qualify for employment insurance. Details are expected in the coming weeks.