The shrimp fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador has seen a lot of changes. From wooden boats to state of the art modern vessels, innovation in technology has affected all aspects of the shrimp fishery, with Canada leading the world in production and quality.

The Role of Engineering in Safety and Health

We often don’t think about the role engineering has in food and worker safety. From the hydraulics for the trawl and the engines to power the vessels and refrigeration for the factory floor to the electronics for finding fish and satellites for navigation and communications, these innovations have led to improved access to fishing resources and more efficient harvesting and processing operations.

Brad Keeping, Third Engineer on Ocean Choice’s coldwater shrimp vessel, the Newfoundland Lynx, understands the changes very well. He works in the engine room, six hours on, six hours off. His work involves monitoring the equipment and making preventive repairs to the engine, the pump generators, air purifiers and the boat’s piping.

Brad says another key advantage for the shrimp fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador is our close proximity to the resource. “We are close to the fishing grounds, making it quick for us to access it. It is only a matter of minutes from the time the shrimp is landed on the vessel to the time that it is frozen and ready for market.

Stringent Food Safety Protocols

We follow the most stringent food safety protocols at every stage of the process – from harvesting, to processing, to handling and shipping. At every stage of the process ensuring the safety of the product is of the utmost importance.

While the pandemic has meant additional procedures for sanitization, Brad says they can see the results. “Since we started the additional cleaning and sanitization, there are virtually no colds and flus,” he says.

In addition to the extra cleaning and sanitization, Brad also says there are other safety and health procedures that are now part of their daily routine.

“We get our temperatures checked daily. The crew is always cleaning and sanitizing our own areas. The people in the factory wear masks, we keep our distance. We stagger our breaks to ensure we can follow physically distancing and in some areas throughout the factory we have installed plexi-glass dividers to separate crew members who work in close proximity to one another.”

Family Connections to the Fishery

Born and raised in Grand Bank, Brad still lives there today with his family. When he’s not working on the NF Lynx, he spends time with his family and also fishes and hunts.

Like many others in the fishery, family connections are common. He has a cousin who is a Fourth Engineer on the same vessel. He says his grandfather was a fisherman and as a boy, he heard stories about the sea and the fishery.

Brad enjoys his work with the shrimp fishery. With the exception of the short stint with the Coast Guard, Brad has worked with the shrimp fishery for most of his career. “I missed it when I went to the Coast Guard,” he says. “Of all the fisheries, shrimp is my favourite.”