Fish processors look to students to fill labour void
Lobster processors hold job fair at the Souris Regional High School
Island fish processors are doing everything they can to fill the labour shortage that caused the lobster processing industry to stall earlier this week—including recruiting students.
Some processors held a job fair at the Souris Regional High School Thursday. The school closes for the summer Friday. Students have been putting in extra hours through the year so construction on a new school could get started earlier.
The lobster processing industry is in need of hundreds of workers, and the problem has restricted the amount of lobster that can be processed. That has left some fishermen with quotas on how much lobster they can sell.
“Certainly nobody is beating down the door for sure. I mean, we're trying things like this job fair, anything else we can do,” said Dennis King of the P.E.I. Seafood Processors Association.
“We're open to ideas of what we can do to address this labour shortage but it's certainly been a long-term issue and it seems like its going to continue to be."
At the entrance to the Souris school, representatives from Seafood 2000 and North Lake Fisheries were handing out applications.
About 20 students filled out the forms. Some students said they are looking for a summer job.
"Just to get some money for a summer job before I go back to school and give me something to do during the summer," said student Laura Macquillan.
Another student, Wesley Jean, said he thinks students are chasing the money out west instead of looking to work in plants.
King said the processing plants are still looking for about 400 employees on the Island.
They're hoping that more high school kids and unemployed Islanders come forward to fill these positions.