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Welcome to Old Perlican, Home to a Thriving Multi-Species Plant in Newfoundland


Situated on the northern tip of Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula, Old Perlican has been a fishing hub for over 300 years. Today, Old Perlican is home to Royal Greenland's largest seafood plant in Canada, where the company and the community go hand-in-hand.

“The mothership”. That’s how Chris Butler, Royal Greenland’s plant manager in Old Perlican and overall production manager for the region, describes the company’s facility in Old Perlican. “Old Perlican really is the mothership for Quin-Sea’s operations in the province”. As Royal Greenland’s subsidiary company in Newfoundland and Labrador since 2016, Quin-Sea Fisheries run seven production facilities on the island of Newfoundland, and Old Perlican is the largest. It produces many species including crab, whelk, scallop, cod, and other groundfish and pelagics. 

Bordering Trinity Bay and Conception Bay, Old Perlican is well positioned near productive fishing grounds. This historic fishing village has been active in the region’s fishery for well over 300 years, and today is home to Royal Greenland’s largest seafood plant.   

The Old Perlican plant contributes to Royal Greenland’s world-wide business, distributing finished goods to major global markets in the United States, Western and Northern Europe, and China and other parts of Asia. 

In March when we visit the plant, the atmosphere is not quite as hectic as in high season during summer, when the plant employs a total of around 300 seasonal workers.  

Now, in late winter, the 15 year-round staff are busy with off-season maintenance, preparing for the busy production season ahead, and conducting centralized functions for Royal Greenland related to quality management and government reporting. 

Sorting Canadian Snow Crab sections

Royal Greenland Snow Crab legs for retail

Snow Crab sections for foodservice and industry

Scallops being individually frozen

Whelk raw material

In high season which starts with crab production in April you will observe an up-beat environment and good atmosphere on the production floor, with jokes being told and music being played over the speakers. Production staff have access to permanent housing solutions and a brand-new canteen with healthy and home-cooked meals during the busy fishing season.

The brand-new canteen serves tasty and healthy food during production season

Snow crab production floor

A history of resilience

Back in 1992, after decades of mismanagement, the Canadian government announced a moratorium on the Newfoundland cod fishery resulting in tens of thousands of people losing their jobs. Despite this, the community was able to weather the storm and transitioned into shellfish production, initially with a focus on Northern shrimp.  Through its resilience and flexibility, Old Perlican has become an expert at adapting to change. The town’s fish plant has since pivoted, expanded, and invested in diversified production capabilities now working with crab, shrimp, cod, whelk and scallops.

Today several hundred fishermen sell their catches of various species to the plant in Old Perlican. Jessie Power has been with the company for 35 years and shares that she has worked with many species during her time with the company. In Old Perlican they seek to use as much of the raw material as possible: “With cod, for example, we cut everything out of the fish, including tongues, heads and fillets”.  Also, Jessie explains that fishery is the foundation for life in Old Perlican and appreciates how Royal Greenland invests in the shared development of the local community and plant by donating to the local playground and sporting facilities.

Shawn Tizard, Packaging Coordinator and Dry Pack Supervisor, is 30 years old and has been with the company for 14 years.  Having started on the snow crab production line, Shawn has worked his way throughout the Old Perlican operation, including some years on the wharf, in the shrimp plant on the cooker, and then into dry-pack and packaging: ‘In recent years there has been a lot of improvements for the better in the plant and it is a great asset to the community’  

Chris Butler, Plant & Production Manager

Shawn Tizzard, Packaging Coordinator & Dry Pack Supervisor

Jessie Power, Valued Plant Worker, Sorting and Packing

Reflections from the Mayor of Old Perlican

Clifford Morgan, Mayor of Old Perlican and its residents, puts great emphasis on the importance of strong collaboration with local businesses for the livelihood of the local community: “Over the years there have been many high points and low points with respect to the fishery. Decades ago, with the collapse of the cod fishery the future of our town looked quite bleak. However, through the adaptation of the fishery and the seafood production facilities other species were introduced.

Today Royal Greenland is very instrumental in this regard, being the largest workplace here in Old Perlican where they process crab, shrimp, whelk and scallops, delivering diversity and prosperity which is needed and greatly appreciated. Royal Greenland is a very important workplace in the community, their interest in our recreational, sporting activities and various social functions supports the community to flourish and helps secure the amenities that provide good living conditions for families.”

Mayor Morgan continues: “Since Royal Greenland have acquired the plant in Old Perlican they have invested substantially in this facility itself to ensure that quality products reach the worldwide market”.

Royal Greenland is a proud sponsor of many community initiatives in Old Perlican, including the Old Perlican Recreation and Arena Committee and has also sponsored events for youth, families, and seniors.


“The mothership today, and the mothership into the future”, reflects Chris Butler: “When considering the future of Royal Greenland in Old Perlican, the company and the town work together to keep Old Perlican on the map as a nice place to live, work, and raise a family as a major fishing village for many more years to come”. And also, the market perspective and synergy to the whole Royal Greenland Group is clear to Chris: “Being a part of a large Group with many shared core species and key markets around the world enhances the market reach and guarantees a solid position of our products globally”.


About the series "Meet Royal Greenland"

About the series "Meet Royal Greenland"

In this series of articles, we invite you on a tour of Royal Greenland's organization, from the small factories along the Greenlandic and Canadian coast to our large ocean-going production trawlers to our sales offices around the world and many more. Welcome to Meet Royal Greenland!

Read the fifth article where we visit our plant in Narsaq, South Greenland.

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