A fish plant in western P.E.I. is operating at just 60 per cent capacity because it can't get foreign workers approved, says one of the owners.

Dewis Cooke of South Shore Seafoods told CBC News Friday he's having a hard time finding local workers, and federal red tape is holding up permits for some temporary foreign workers he's hoping to hire. Of the 110 employees that are currently working, he said, 90 are temporary foreign workers.

'We have 30 workers right now sitting waiting to come who we need desperately.' — Dewis Cooke, South Shore Seafoods

Cooke is worried federal government changes to foreign worker rules could make it even more difficult for the company to hire people from other countries.

"That'd probably put us out of business because without the foreign workers we're out of business," he said.

"We don't have a local workforce."

Dewis said young people coming out of high school and university in the province are not interested in working in a fish plant.

"We need some help from our federal MPs to assist us with the federal government and getting red tape tightened up a bit," he said.

"We have 30 workers right now sitting waiting to come who we need desperately to continue our operation but they're tied up with red tape and the government."

The lobster season opened earlier this week. Cooke said his company is using advertising and job lines to attract workers.