Cooke Aquaculture is moving ahead with multi-million-dollar capital investment plans in three of the four provinces in Atlantic Canada.
In St. George, N.B., Cooke is doing a major salmon processing plant expansion to increase fresh and frozen value-added product output to serve retail markets, said Claire Ryan, director of public relations for Cooke.
“Cooke is also constructing a large land-based freshwater hatchery at Johnson Lake in Pennfield, N.B., and engineering and permitting is underway for two large land-based post-smolt facilities — one near St. Andrews, N.B. and the other near Centreville on Digby Neck, N.S.,” said Ryan.
“In Newfoundland and Labrador, Cooke continues to expand its integrated farming operations. This includes investments in cleaner fish development for enhanced eco-friendly sea lice management, innovations in automated farming, harvesting and processing operations and upgrades to seawater sites and equipment.”
In total, Cooke anticipates it will spend approximately $330 million in Atlantic Canada through 2026, said Ryan, including $35 million in Newfoundland for expanded integrated farming operations and approximately $106 million in Nova Scotia for upgrades to harvest vessels, seawater sites, equipment and the new state-of-the-art post-smolt facility, where salmon are hatched and grown before being transferred to the marine farms.
The $60-million construction project will be a world-class recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) and is expected to take several years to build.
Ryan said Cooke has approximately 1,950 employees in Atlantic Canada and produces 45,000 metric tonnes of farmed salmon annually.
“Cooke is a growing company and we have more than 100 positions available throughout Atlantic Canada and across our operations, from seafood processing to vessel crews, to transportation, to our corporate offices,” she said. “We are actively recruiting through advertisements, job fairs and social media. In many roles, no experience is necessary — we will train new employees right on the job while they are being paid.”
Earlier this year, Cooke was named one of Canada’s best managed companies for the 17th consecutive year.
“We participate in Canada’s Best Managed Companies because we believe our team is best in class; that we’ve been able to maintain our Best Managed Platinum Club designation year after year is a testament to the care and commitment our employees bring to their job each day,” says Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke Aquaculture Inc. in a media release.
“We work with a number of third-party certification programs to ensure our operations and products continue to meet and exceed industry standards, and it means a lot to be recognized nationally for our overall business performance.”
Cooke also took home the Opportunities N.B. Global Diversification Award in the spring.
Cooke Aquaculture Inc. has salmon farming operations in Atlantic Canada, the United States, Chile and Scotland, as well as seabass and seabream farming operations in Spain.
In Atlantic Canada, Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cooke Aquaculture. Cooke ships fresh, sustainable True North Seafood branded products to over 67 countries.