Nova Scotia

Sherbrooke smoked salmon company moving to P.E.I. is 'very sad,' says resident

Cooke Aquaculture is moving a Sherbrooke, N.S., smoked salmon company that it bought less than a year ago to Charlottetown.

'We were very proud to say our salmon was eaten worldwide,' says local councillor Debbie Findlay

St. Mary's Smokehouses will close its Sherbrooke, N.S., operation June 22. Its owner, Cooke Aquaculture, is moving production to Charlottetown. (CBC)

Cooke Aquaculture is moving a Sherbrooke, N.S., smoked salmon company that it bought less than a year ago to Charlottetown.

Eighteen people work at St. Mary's River Smokehouses, which will shut down June 22.

"They had a very, very short time and now they're leaving us ... they were a major employer in the area. There's going to be a lot of people without work and it's very unfortunate," said Coun. Debbie Findlay, who represents Sherbrooke.

'It's just very sad'

St. Mary's River Smokehouses is located in the Municipality of the District of St. Mary's — an area with a population of about 2,300 people.

Findlay said the closure is a big blow to the community.

Cooke Aquaculture had purchased St. Mary's River Smokehouses — a business that had been in the area for more than 20 years — in October 2017.

File image of St. Mary's River Smokehouses from 2014. (CBC)

Findlay said St. Mary's River Smokehouses was a source of pride for the community because it started by a local person.

"We were very proud to say our salmon was eaten worldwide. It's just sad, it's just very sad," she said.

Employees offered comparable jobs elsewhere

Cooke spokesperson Joel Richardson said the 18 employees at St. Mary's River Smokehouses will be offered comparable jobs with Cooke Aquaculture.

"If they choose not to go, then they will be certainly provided fair and adequate severance from the company," he said.

Cooke Aquaculture plans to continue using the St. Mary's River Smokehouses branding. (CBC)

Richardson said the company is moving the operation out of Sherbrooke because it "just wasn't operating in a viable manner and we are able to achieve greater operational efficiencies and production efficiencies over at our other facility in Charlottetown."

Brand continues

Richardson said the company will continue to use the St. Mary's River Smokehouses branding.

On May 17, Cooke Aquaculture announced it would be creating up to 100 new jobs in New Brunswick over the next five years. In a news release, the province said the company already employs more than 1,300 people.

About the Author

Anjuli Patil

Reporter

Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.