Whelk holds promise for Northwest Island, N.L.

| Agriculture, Business, Community |

An edible sea snail is creating viable work in the once-thriving fishing community of Northwest Island, N.L.

A new fish plant used to process whelk has created jobs and generated hope in the small town of Ramea.

The plant, financed by the Ramea Community Co-operative, employs
about 20 people full-time. They process the edible mollusk that is
popular in Asian markets.

The co-op sold $100 shares to members of the community and raised about $30,000 to cover start-up costs.

The new plant has been operating full-speed all summer to the delight of the town, said Mayor Lloyd Rossiter.

"It gives everybody a bit of a lift when you see those 20 people
walking down to the facility in the morning, and you know, working
there pretty well full days, and sometimes it’s overtime and whatever,"
he said. "It certainly does good for people when you see that
happening."

The plant is also a source of pride for co-op members who see it as
a way to strengthen the community, "rather than, like people say,
relying on the government to keep us going," said co-founder Reg
MacDonald.

The plant will close for the winter season at the end of October.

Ramea’s old cod plant hasn’t operated since the 1992 moratorium.