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Reg Anstey, chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Fish Processing Licensing Board, confirmed Friday that the board has made its recommendations on the applications to transfer ownership of two fish processing operations in the province to Royal Greenland.
Licence holders of St. Anthony Seafoods on the Northern Peninsula, and Quinlan Brothers of Bay de Verde, want to transfer those licences to the Danish-owned company. Royal Greenland is already operating in Newfoundland.
In 2016 then fisheries minister Steve Crocker approved a licence transfer that allowed Royal Greenland to buy Quin Sea Fisheries' processing licence in Old Perlican. Quinlan Brothers and Royal Greenland are already joint partners in two other fish processing businesses in the province — Gulf Shrimp Limited and Independent Fish Harvesters.
The current applications for Quinlan’s licence transfers to Royal Greenland have been sitting on the licensing board's agenda since earlier this year.
In St. Anthony, Clearwater Seafoods and St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc. (SABRI) are partners in St. Anthony Seafoods. But SABRI, a non-profit economic development group, wants out.
SABRI applied on Feb. 14 to transfer its 25 percent share of St. Anthony Seafoods to Royal Greenland. A meeting to review the application had originally been scheduled for March. However, the licensing board postponed the meeting because of COVID-19.
Quinlan Brothers Ltd. is seeking to transfer licences for its plants at Bay de Verde, Old Perlican and Baie Verte. They made formal application to the board on April 1.
Anstey could not give any details about what is in the board’s recommendations to the minster.
“We met last week and the recommendations are in the hands of the minister. The board simply makes recommendations, we are not the final authority,” he said.
The final decision on the Royal Greenland application now sits with the newly-minted provincial Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture minister Elvis Loveless, who is the MHA for Fortune Bay-Cape La Hune.