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Corner Brook Sushi Restaurant Says No To Open-Net Salmon

by Tom Cheney (

March 1, 2024

Newfound Sushi becomes first restaurant to join Off The Table Canada campaign

Kevin Vincent isn’t afraid of a challenge. Twelve years ago, he opened western Newfoundland’s first sushi restaurant. Today, business is steady and Trip Advisor rates Newfound Sushi as the #2 restaurant in the Corner Brook area. Last week, Vincent added another first: his restaurant became the first to join Off The Table Canada (an offshoot of a U.K.-based campaign) by taking open-net pen farmed Atlantic salmon off the menu. That’s a big deal for a sushi joint; in the peak season, Vincent goes through 100 pounds of salmon a week, representing 30% of his revenue.

Vincent and his wife discovered sushi during a stint in Vancouver, and he eventually learned to make the Japanese fare himself. When they returned to Newfoundland, he impressed the right people with his skills and got a job making sushi for a local grocery store. After testing the market for a few years, he cut out on his own.

Salmon features largely in sushi, but for several years something just wasn’t sitting right with Vincent. In 2019, a massive die-off at 10 aquaculture sites that killed 2.6 million fish really got him thinking. The more he learned about the industry, the more he saw it wasn’t sustainable.

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Kevin Vincent displays material from the Off the Table campaign. Don Ivany/ASF

Vincent speaks thoughtfully about what’s clearly a complicated issue. The world needs protein. And rural communities need economic activity. At the same time, Vincent comes from a fishing family and knows the importance of marine ecosystem health. “I’m not against salmon farming,” he says, “I’m against salmon farming in the ocean.”

For a while Vincent thought his customers would make the decision for him—that they’d ask for alternatives to ocean-farmed salmon. But sometimes positive change takes a leader, someone to take that first, difficult step. So, Vincent planned to phase out farmed salmon from his menu later this year.

Then he read Salmon Wars by Catherine Collins and Douglas Frantz. In his words, the moment he put the book down Vincent announced, “We’re cutting it out tomorrow.”

And that’s precisely what he did.

The reception, Vincent says, has been enthusiastic. “Tons of great comments,” he says. “It’s amazing the amount of people that are behind it.”

And he’s already found ways to fill the gap in his menu. Sustainably caught arctic char from Labrador as well as wild sockeye salmon are a hit with diners. Other restaurant owners have taken notice as well. Vincent said he’s spoken with several who are curious about alternatives and willing to make the switch.

He says many people have reached out to tell him he’s a leader in the industry. History may soon prove them right. But Kevin Vincent’s motivations are more modest. “I’m just a proud Newfoundlander,” he says, “I just want things to be left for the next several generations.”