Up to 200 new jobs

New own­ers fi­nance pur­chase of Mariner Seafoods with­out gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE - BY STEVE SHARRATT

A va­cant seafood plant is get­ting a new lease on life this year as con­trac­tors con­verge on the for­mer Mariner Seafoods in Bru­denell to pre­pare for a spring open­ing.

The property is alive with spe­cial­ists in wa­ter sys­tems, hy­draulics and elec­tri­cal work as new own­ers who pur­chased the plant just be­fore Christ­mas pre­pare for the 2016 fish­ery with in­ten­tions to hire as many as 200 work­ers.

“It’s a great news story to kick off the New Year,’’ said Mon­tague Mayor Richard Collins.

“This is really big, big news for this area and peo­ple are al­ready ask­ing me who to con­tact for em­ploy­ment.”

The plant is ex­pected to re­ceive con­sid­er­able im­prove­ments and new own­ers must deal with up­grad­ing a dis­posal sys­tem that con­stantly failed in the past and led to en­vi­ron­men­tal charges against the for­mer op­er­a­tor.

The sys­tem flows into the Mon­tague River.

The plant has been pur­chased by Chi­nese and Amer­i­can af­fil­i­ates who have been op­er­at­ing the North Lake seafood plant for the past few years.

Mark Bon­nell of Mur­ray Har­bour op­er­ated Mariner Seafoods for decades be­fore it was closed in 2012.

“It’s cer­tainly great news for the prov­ince and the fish­ery,’’ said Fi­nance Min­is­ter and lo­cal MLA Al Roach.

“It’s great to have an­other pro­ces­sor com­ing and from what I understand they are ad­vanc­ing this ven­ture on their own cap­i­tal.”

No of­fi­cial com­ment has been re­leased by the com­pany.

“It’s a pri­vate sale,’’ said Fish­eries Min­is­ter Al­lan McIsaac.

“I can only say at this point that any in­vest­ment in our fish­ery has to be seen as pos­i­tive. We hope the same in this case and look for­ward to work­ing with the new owner.”

The new plant could op­er­ate three quar­ters of the year if plans are suc­cess­ful and process snow crab, lob­ster and pos­si­bly even veg­eta­bles. At one time, the plant was a veg­etable op­er­a­tion.

The for­mer plant was closed in 2012 leav­ing hun­dreds with­out jobs.

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