Politicians, councilors, and founders, managers, and workers of the aquaculture industry in the Coast of Bays gathered at the Milltown Lions Club on Thursday evening, July 14, to pay tribute to those who have helped grow the industry over the years, an industry which creates about 1000 direct and indirect jobs in the area.
Twenty-one founders and early advocates of aquaculture and 26 mangers and site workers with 20 plus years of experience were presented with certificates of appreciation by the Honorable Cathy Dunderdale, the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Honorable Clyde Jackman, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
The Premier was happy to be present and help honor those who had the vision to advocate for this industry in “such a beautiful part of our province.” “These were the people who were instrumental in working with government and experts to create an industry which has grown in leaps and bounds,” the Premier said. “We are here to celebrate what we’ve done, how far we’ve come, and particularly the work of the pioneers who never let it go. They stayed the course, they persevered, they did the research, they lobbied the government, and they invested their own money. I want to thank them for their hard work and for dedicating their lives and their work to their communities.”
Minister Jackman also praised the efforts of the founders and workers who saw the industry grow from its infancy in the 80s to the fully commercial modem industry that it is today. “You have seen it grow,” he said, “from wooden, handmade cages to the plastic and steel of today; from sites with 100,000 – 300,000 fish to sites with over a million, from counting fish by hand to the automated graders and counting machines we have now, and from sleeping in tents and primitive cabins to the facilities you have today.”
Also on hand to speak and express appreciation were Tracey Perry, MHA, Jennifer Woodland, the President of the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association which sponsored the event, Mayor Georgina Brushett of Milltown-Head Baie D’Espoir, and Brian Meaney, an employee of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture who played a huge role in the development of the aquaculture industry on the south coast.