On Thursday, Nov. 8, an explosion at a Neptune Technologies and Bioressources krill processing plant killed two workers and sent 19 others to the hospital. The Associated Press reported on Sunday that a third person died in the hospital on Saturday night. Four people remain hospitalized—three are in critical but stable condition at a Montreal burn unit, and the fourth is recovering from multiple fractures in Sherbrooke, Quebec, where the plant is located.
The explosion occurred in an older part of the facility, and was touched off by the ignition of 15,000 liters of acetone—a commonly used solvent in the supply industry—causing extensive damage to the factory, according to AP.
A common purpose
Such tragedies are too often swept under in the weekly news cycle, painting a grim picture of human expendability at the hands of industry. We have only so much time to mourn, reflect and ask why before their names are unduly forgotten. How can we give due respect to the families of the dead, and come away with a common sense of meaning and purpose, instead of senselessness and emptiness?
It’s a defining moment for the entire krill oil industry. Competitors can take a mercenary stance and capitalize on the destruction and disruption, or this tragedy can serve as a reason to come together. Krill companies operate under a common purpose to bring better health products to the people who need them.
Krill is a volatile industry—not because of an untrustworthy supply chain, but because of infighting between suppliers, mostly rising from patent disputes. Many consider the patent imbroglios a distraction from building a promising human health product category. What krill really needs is unification, not more competition.
Now, it's dangerous to take too myopic a view of the situation and ascribe its impact to just krill. Ultimately, this is about people, not industry.
So, my friends, what does this tragedy mean to you?