The Island of Newfoundland has been defined by its waters since the beginning of time. An island surrounded by an ocean of riches, fishery, tourism, and the oil industry continues to be the mainstays of the economy.
And it is about to get better.
Those that do well in the world adapt. Our future looks incredibly prosperous, but to avail of that prosperity, we must innovate and create and, most of all, adjust to the changing world before us.
To build a prosperous bridge from today to the future, it takes a vision, where great minds overcome circumstances and turn them into opportunities.
All we need to do is look at the Norwegian way of life to realize how much potential Newfoundland and Labrador has in similar industry sectors. Norway is the world’s largest supplier of Salmon, so if there’s any country that can teach us precisely how it is done, it’s Norway.
Last year Norway exported 100 Billion NOK of Salmon to the world. It’s lucrative and life-defining for the country. Norway’s fish farms are strictly regulated to meet rigorous environmental approvals as well as quality and food safety requirements, ensuring their aquaculture industry is consumer safe and highly lucrative at the same time.
Great minds are those that take challenges and turn them into opportunities. They take nothing and turn it into everything. They see what nobody else saw. That describes visionary Paul Antle, accurately.
I met Paul in my junior high school days as a kid beating around Dunfield Street in St. John’s, NL. He was a smart, friendly young man with a soft way about him. Written in Paul’s DNA is an undercurrent of that binds us all together here on this island: our love for our people and our province. That’s part of what makes him a great entrepreneur.
Since our early days on Dunfield Street up until today, Paul has had a valuable path of continuous learning, having graduated from MUN, UNB, and, most recently, Harvard Business School. The beginning of Paul’s entrepreneurial days began back in the late 1980s. Since then, he has built many companies and has built a small empire.
Today Paul is the owner of Pluto Investments, which is the holding company for; the St. John’s Dockyard, Humber Motors Ford, Avalon Laboratories, and others.
Most recently, Paul and his partners purchased the Marystown Shipyard and launched Marbase, a fully integrated aquaculture service hub focused on strengthening the supply chain and service sector for the aquaculture industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.
When asked what it was like going to Harvard, Paul explained, “In 2000, I sold one of my core businesses and began looking for other opportunities. After somewhat of a dry spell, I started to doubt whether I had all the skills I needed to succeed in business both domestically and internationally. So, I applied to an executive education program at the Harvard Business School and was accepted.
Looking back, Harvard was one of the most challenging things I’d ever done, but it was also one of the most rewarding. Harvard forced me to look critically at my strengths and my weaknesses. To continuously carry out a self-assessment of who I was, my purpose, my goals, my vision for the business. It was rigorous and rewarding.”
“Harvard gave me more tools I needed to make better decisions and improve how I do business; Tools that built my confidence in finance, planning, and strategy. My clarity became crisp, my understanding greatly expanded, and my perspective on business changed immensely. I have always been independent in my business career. Still, Harvard put me on a higher plane of understanding with an enhanced perspective enabling me to take on more challenges and opportunities,” Paul explained.
Paul’s business focus at Harvard set in a strong foundation of ethics, “Integrity and fairness are so important. I quickly learned that the best deals in business are the ones where everyone wins, and everyone walks away happy. Harvard solidified the way I wanted to conduct business, and that corresponded with my family values as well.”
Paul has a vision for the Newfoundland fishery, “Aquaculture can be huge for our province, given its positive economic impact on our rural communities. There has been no better opportunity to reverse the flow of outmigration while creating sustainable employment for generations to come. Many of the communities around Newfoundland were built on the fishery, and now they can be rebuilt with fish farming. The opportunities are enormous.”
To avail of the aquaculture opportunity in the province, Paul’s company, Pluto Investments, created a business partnership with Amar Group of Norway. Paul built a stable relationship with well-known aquaculture entrepreneur Bjorn Apeland. Apeland was a perfect partner because he created one of the world’s most significant aquaculture products and service companies, which is a leader in fish farming technology in Norway.
Paul explains, “Together with Amar group; we purchased the Marystown Shipyard with a unique vision to support aquaculture supply and service. We are creating the world’s first integrated aquaculture service hub. This aquaculture hub will supply, service, and support aquaculture farmers in the province and possibly across Atlantic Canada. We will create hundreds of direct and indirect sustainable jobs in Marystown, the Burin Peninsula, and throughout the province.”
PRIORITY SERVICES FOR MARBASE INCLUDE:
Lumpfish are a critical part of the equation for Marbase and the local aquaculture farmers. They are the biological weapon against sea lice, effectively reducing pesticide use in salmon farming. Paul says, “The Lumpfish hatchery will be a land-based facility in Marystown, and hopefully it will be up and running by late 2020. We have targeted the first delivery of Lumpfish to farmers by 2021.
The Lumpfish facility has a flow-through system with water temperature control that provides more control over the growth of the Lumpfish. The yearly production of Lumpfish is expected to start at 2 million Lumpfish with a capacity of up to 5 million.
Sludge produced by the facility will be collected and processed internally at the site. Paul’s 25 years of experience in the waste management industry will serve Marbase well as new technology and processes are implemented to bring an optimal product to the market while minimizing environmental impact.
Every Newfoundland outport should be looking at the grassroots opportunity related to fish farming in their region. It’s going to be one of the world’s globalizing forces as the demand for fish increases with an increasing global population.
In Norway, aquaculture has surpassed wild fisheries. The Norwegian Seafood Council estimates Atlantic salmon exports make up about 70% of the nation’s total seafood exports and that 14 million meals of Norwegian Salmon are served every day in over 100 countries. Just imagine the potential for Newfoundland and Labrador to supply fresh Salmon to the world. For more information about Norwegian aquaculture, visit https://en.seafood.no/.
Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have a goldmine of opportunity at their fingertips. We can act on it now and be world leaders like Norway. We can learn from systems that have worked and not worked in the past and adapt our expertise to improve processes along the way.
Paul says, “The quality people around you always determine the probability of success. When you have people that are driven, competent, honest, and good team players, you can achieve an enormous amount in a short time. Our suppliers also have to have those qualities. It’s all relationship-based. Good people who have direction and the tools they need can accomplish a great deal.”
“At this stage in my career and life, there is nothing more I would like than to help revitalize our rural communities; to help them become a destination rather than a place of departure. Imagine rural people building new homes, starting new businesses, and raising young families; the aquaculture industry can be that revitalizing force,” Paul says enthusiastically.
The work of visionary Paul Antle has something to teach us all. A typical townie with nothing but curiosity for what’s possible, he turned his dreams into reality. He is an inspiration to us all. If we’ve learned anything, let it be that if Paul can do it, so can we. Touch base with Marbase to see where you might fit into the aquaculture dream of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Never before has the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador had such a substantial opportunity for a lucrative aquaculture future. The industry needs great minds with the right vision. Newfoundland has all of that and more, which means we truly can accomplish anything.
For those with a passion for business and rural grassroots living, Aquaculture is your chance!
Sources and Pictures: Government of Norway, Seafoodfromnorway.us, Paul Antle, Marbase.no
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