Fisheries Minister Elvis Loveless says he was as surprised as anyone with the news yesterday of job losses at Grieg’s salmon aquaculture facility in Marystown.
He says he first heard the news as of yesterday morning.
The Norwegian company said it had no choice but to push the construction of its post-smolt unit down the road due largely to market uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Loveless bemoaned the loss of jobs in the leadup to Christmas, he said the company still plans to meet all milestones associated with its commitment to the operation.
The minister said a total of 193 jobs will be eliminated between now and Christmas.
Meanwhile, despite yesterday’s layoff of nearly 200 construction workers, Grieg Seafood says it is in Newfoundland for the long haul and has confidence that salmon markets will rebound.
Demand in one of their primary markets, the USA, is weak given that fewer people are dining out these days. That has prompted the company to stop work on the post-smolt building, a facility that would emulate Mother Nature—a large aquarium-like facility.
Perry Power, the director of human resources and communications for Grieg, says Wednesday was a hard day for everyone at Grieg.
The 35,000 sq. ft. building is still in their plans, but they will carry on for now without it.
First fish is still expected in 2022 or 2023.