HomeIndustryRiverside Lobster Permanently Closed

Riverside Lobster Permanently Closed

A temporary shutdown has turned into a permanent closure for Riverside Lobster International (RLI) in Meteghan, Digby County.

Parent company Champlain Seafood announced on Feb. 13 that Riverside Lobster would not be reopening and will be permanently closed. This shutdown of operations will impact the main lobster processing plant as well as the live lobster holding and export operations.

In October 2023, the company announced that Riverside would not process lobster for the fall lobster fishery.

“At the time, the reason for the temporary shutdown was due to lower lobster landings and overall product availability. The lobster processing industry in Atlantic Canada is continuing to see an unprecedented situation, with not enough lobsters to sustain current processing capacity,” said Champlain in a media release.

The closure will be an economic blow to the area, said the Municipality of Clare.

“The economic backbone of our community lays within our fishing industries,” said Anique Dugas, communications officer for the Municipality.

“Lobster landings are down this year and decisions such as these underscore the importance of responsible decision making with conservation and sustainability in mind.”

Champlain Seafood said it understands the impact of this difficult decision on the local community and on its employees. “Currently there are a small number of active employees working at RLI and they will continue to be employed to wind down operations over the next few months. Employees affected by the shutdown will be offered employment opportunities at other Champlain Seafood facilities.”

When Riverside Lobster International’s processing facility was running last spring, more than 150 people were employed there, including 70 temporary foreign workers and about 85 local employees.

The closure of RLI does not impact Champlain Seafood’s other lobster processing facilities, including Cape Bald Packers and Captain Dan’s in New Brunswick. These facilities also process other seafood products including crab, clams and mussels.

Champlain Seafood is also the parent company of the Boston Lobster Company and Boston Wholesale Lobster with locations in Boston and Cape Sable Island, as well as Cheticamp Fisheries, Lobsters ‘R’ Us Seafood, Petit De Grat Packers Ltd., all located in Cape Breton.