Samson, LeBlanc recognized
Two Cape Bretoners get nod for Atlantic Marine Industries Hall of Fame
It’s a long way from Cape Breton to Vietnam, but travelling to foreign destinations is all part of the seafood business for Edgar Samson.
In fact, the Petit-de-Grat businessman is on the road so often, his own office staff sometimes can’t remember where he is on any given day.
This week, Samson is in the United States, but last month it was Vietnam. Before that it was Dubai, but it could just as easily have been the United Kingdom or Iceland.
“The seafood business changes all the time, every year, so it’s important to stay in touch with those changes,” he said.
Getting a foothold in international markets is one of the reasons why Samson, the president and CEO of Arichat-based Premium Seafoods Group, will be inducted into the Atlantic Canada Marine Industries Hall of Fame during this weekend’s Eastern Canadian Fisheries Exposition taking place in Yarmouth.
“It’s certainly an honour, the recognition is nice, but it’s not just for me — it’s an honour for the company and all the employees that worked so hard for so many years,” he said.
Samson, who began his working career as an electrician, partnered with John F. Samson and Brian Samson in 1984 to start a lobster brokerage business that has since grown to become the Premium Seafoods Group.
He oversees six companies that today employ some 200 people and process and/or buy more than 15-million pounds of seafood annually.
Joining Samson in the hall are Cheticamp fisherman and industry advocate Leonard LeBlanc and shipbuilder Gilles Theriault, of Meteghan River in Digby County.
One of 19 siblings, LeBlanc took up the family trade, but after buying his own fishing licence he realized that fishermen were not adequately represented in dealings with the government. While he kept on fishing, he also went on to represent fishermen as a top official with a number of organizations including the Gulf Nova Scotia Fishermen’s Coalition, the Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia and the Snow Crab Solidarity Fund Association.
Theriault has spent his career in the family business, established by his grandfather in 1938, and has over the years worked as a machinist, managed the company’s propeller shop and eventually became a certified boat builder.