No solution in sight for fish plant shutdown

  • Mar. 4, 2009 8:00 a.m.

Fifty to 60 islanders are sitting at home this week instead of processing crab at the Omega Packing Co. Ltd. Plant in Masset, says general manager Rob St. Louis. The fact the plant is not running is entirely due to Environment Canada, he said, which recently banned the plants from dumping fish waste into the ocean. There was hope a solution could be found, with Environment Canada last week offering an extension which would allow the four fish plants on island to dump the waste for the next couple of months. But this week Mr. St. Louis said he has received details about the extension, and it doesn’t change anything for the plants. “We opened the envelope, and got a rubber chicken,” he said. “It’s almost the exact same directive we got before Christmas. It doesn’t do any good.” Mr. St. Louis said he is getting frustrated dealing with politicians on the issue and is looking for a way to make the situation known. Omega was set to open March 1 with a crew of 50 to 60, but as of March 3 the plant was still closed awaiting a resolution of the dumping issue.