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True North Seafood, a subsidiary of Cooke Aquaculture of New Brunswick, has officially acquired a U.S.-based fresh and frozen seafood company for $2.75 million (U.S.) in a move that is expected to have a positive impact on jobs at home and south of the border.
The U.S. company—Mariner Seafood—became available after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It has 14,000 and 32-000 square-foot (headquarters) facilities and 170 employees in New Bedford, Mass.
“Actually, our plan is to grow both of the two facilities in terms of their production and the number of employees that they have there,” said Joel Richardson, vice-president of public relations for Cooke Inc. in Saint John, N.B.
“When we grow in other countries, including the U.S. or Europe or South America or Central America, it strengthens all of the jobs back in Atlantic Canada and helps support our global headquarter operations.”
Richardson said the acquisition was a good strategic opportunity along the eastern seaboard since it allows True North Seafood to own and operate the fish farming, processing, trucking and distribution in that area rather than contract out some of those services.
“That would be consistent with our operations in Atlantic Canada where we own and operate our own seafood and salmon processing facilities,” he said.
Richardson said True North Seafood already had a working relationship with Mariner Seafood prior to the U.S. company filing for bankruptcy. And, during the bankruptcy proceedings, the sides continued to work together as well as talking to Mariner Seafood’s customers, suppliers and vendors to make the acquisition and transition “seamless,” he said.
The acquisition now gives Cooke more than 4,000 employees in 22 states in the U.S., according to a press release.
Terrence McEachern is a business reporter based in Charlottetown, P.E.I.