Terroir Symposium leader applauds long-awaited legislation overhaul allowing direct fisher-to-restaurant sales in Newfoundland and Labrador

Until 29 September 2015, chefs in Newfoundland and Labrador were prevented, by law, from buying fish and seafood directly from the fishers whose ships were docked literally 20 feet from their restaurants. This week, in St John’s, legislative changes were announced that will give the province’s chefs direct access to the local Atlantic harvest, via wharf-to-restaurant sales. This means they can finally offer diners more diverse native species in their freshest form—taking their share in a local harvest largely earmarked for international markets and taking advantage of the healthy and delicious fish that harvesters working through processing plants uniquely would previously have been forced to discard as bycatch.

This change is applauded by Arlene Stein, leader of Canadian hospitality industry organization Terroir. At a round-table meeting in May 2015—as part of Terroir’s One Fish mission to Newfoundland and Labrador—Terroir and Chefs for Oceans brought together local and international chefs, politicians, fishing industry representatives, seafood certification boards and media to discuss sustainable seafood concerns. The conversation around Newfoundland and Labrador’s prohibitive direct-sales legislation was revived and emerged clearly as a hot-button issue for regionally focussed chefs. 

“We are proud to have been part of the conversation and thrilled about Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Vaughn Granter’s announcement,” Stein said. “The Newfoundland and Labrador restaurant scene has exploded over the past few years and has been making waves on the international culinary scene, but outdated direct-sales laws were holding chefs back from tapping into their own fresh ocean bounty and demonstrating the full extent of their creativity and the richness of their local food resources.” 

Effective immediately, restaurant owners can buy a license to purchase up to 300 pounds per species per week, directly from harvesters, making for a fresher and more diverse catch. Jeremy Charles, chef and co-owner of Raymonds and the Merchant Tavern, in St John’s, said: “A $50 fee to purchase unprocessed whole fish... Brilliant! It’s something that we have been asking for, for the last number of years, and I truly believe, with the most recent activities through Terroir and the round-table discussions here in NL, the government actually listened.” 

The new rules allow for the sale of finfish, live crustaceans, squid, seal meat and scallop meat. Todd Perrin, chef and co-owner of Mallard Cottage, said “We are excited to hear of the changing legislation. The devil will be in the details, but as a chef I look forward to more unfettered access to the seafood resources that surround us in Newfoundland.”

As well as pleasing chefs and diners in the province, this move will have positive implications for the environment in that it reduces fish waste from bycatch.

About Terroir
Terroir is a not-for-profit hospitality industry organization grounded in values of excellence, community and sustainability. Since its founding by Arlene Stein in 2005, the Terroir committee has held an annual hospitality industry symposium in Toronto, Canada, and hosted some of the world’s most influential industry leaders. Since 2014, the organization has also been hosting off-shoot events and missions in various Canadian and international destinations, to precipitate change around important food issues, showcase culinary innovation, and raise the global profile of Canadian cuisine. Terroir will be celebrating its tenth anniversary, On 26 April 2016, with a symposium at the Art Gallery of Ontario. For more information go to, follow Terroir on Facebook or on Twitter @TerroirTalk #Terroir2016.

About One Fish
From 14-17 May 2015, Terroir and Chefs for Oceans brought a select group of hospitality influencers and media to St. John’s to meet fishing industry experts and examine both the history and the current realities of an Atlantic community built on fishing. The objectives were to showcase best practices in ocean protection, learn from the lessons of the Cod Moratorium, stimulate dialogue, and advocate for better access to sustainable seafood. 

Media:  For additional information, visuals or to request an interview with Arlene Stein, Chair, Terroir or to receive more information on Terroir, please contact Renee Lalonde:,, @reneelalonde11.


Renée Lalonde
Cell: 416 817-6605