The origin of Labrador Fishermen’s Union Shrimp Company Limited (LFUSCL), locally known as the Labrador Shrimp Company can be traced back to 1978 when a group of fishermen met in L’anse-au-Loup, Labrador to explore the possibility of obtaining shrimp licences that the Federal Government had allocated to Southern Labrador.
The initial intention of these fishermen was to form a cooperative to determine the best way forward in utilizing the two shrimp licences so that they would provide maximum benefits to the people in the area. It was finally decided that the best approach was to form a Canadian controlled private corporation with fishers as the only shareholders of the company and the company would operate under some cooperative guidelines. The company’s mandate was to provide one share to each full-time fish harvester and to reinvest all profits back into company operations for the creation and development of sustainable employment for those coastal communities.
The company’s first contract to fish shrimp was with a group of companies from the Faroe Islands. The first year of operations resulted in a number of jobs on shrimp vessels for local people and $750,000 in revenue for the company. From those humble beginnings, a long-term plan for the fishery in this region of Labrador was very carefully initiated, developed, and implemented.
Today the company operates processing facilities in L’anse-au-Loup, Mary’s Harbour, Charlottetown, Pinsent’s Arm and Cartwright along with several buying and service stations seasonally employing over 500 people in the processing sector and servicing hundreds of fishers who harvest the sea throughout the coastal areas of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Additionally, the company owns and operates two fixed gear vessels in the turbot fishery and owns 50% of the M/V Northern Osprey III which harvests shrimp from waters adjacent to Northern Newfoundland up to the Southern region of Baffin Island. Those vessels employ over 100 crewmembers providing them with good stable employment almost on a year-round basis.
The inshore (small boat) fishery within the L’anse-au-Clair to Cartwright region involves approximately 130 boats and hundreds of fishers harvesting cod, herring, capelin, Greenland halibut, snow crab, whelk, scallops, Atlantic halibut, and shrimp. LFUSCL strives to ensure their needs are met as expeditiously as possible.