Sean Hearn has been working in the fishery since he was a teenager heading to the wharf after school. When the moratorium was called in 1992, he was 23 years old and working at the plant in Harbour Grace. He watched people from communities all over Newfoundland move west and he dreaded the thought of doing the same.
“I saw so many people have to pack up and move or work away for months at a time. They missed out on so much. So many have told me they regretted it, but they had no choice,” Sean explains. “Because of Harbour Grace Cold Storage, I was able to stay in Newfoundland after the cod moratorium. Myself and my wife were able to raise our two boys here and still live at home today.”
Plans began for Harbour Grace Cold Storage (HGCS) in 1992 and by 1994, it was built and operational. Sean has worked at the cold storage facility ever since. HGCS’s business is 100% dependant on the offshore fishery vessels landing and offloading at the port in Harbour Grace. The company and its successes are a perfect example of the offshore fishery creating year-round employment on land.
When he started with HGCS twenty-five years ago, Sean worked as a Stevedore unloading seafood from the hole of ships. He later moved up to Safety Tally, then operated the forklift on the wharf and inside the freezer. He worked his way up to his current position of Lead Hand and he steps up as Foreman on days when the Lead Foreman is off work.
Besides a year-round job at home, Sean says his career in the offshore fishery means he can do what he enjoys in his free time as well.
“My house in Bristol’s Hope is a 5-minute drive,” he says. “When I’m not working, I can go camping, trouting, ATV riding or cutting wood. That’s everything I need.”
Sean is not only happy to live and raise him family in Newfoundland, it’s also where he prefers to relax.
“I’m old school. You won’t find me on a plane when I go on vacation. Every summer, we take the camper and the boat and choose a part of Newfoundland and Labrador to experience.”
Sean oozes a deep connection to his home and his way of life. Its not hard to understand just how much it means to him that, despite ups and downs in the fishery, he has been able to live and work at home.
“That’s because of this Cold Storage facility and the offshore fishery,” Sean says.