Cooke Aquaculture to bring almost 100 new jobs to the region

Barb Rayner/Courier Cooke Aquaculture made sure Premier Brian Gallant had a taste of some of its salmon when he was in Blacks Harbour Friday to announce the creation of up to 100 new jobs at the company. Pictured (from left) are Minister of Aquaculture and Fisheries Rick Doucet, Gallant, company CEO Glenn Cooke and company co-founder Mike Cooke.

Blacks Harbour – Cooke Aquaculture will create up to 100 new jobs over the next five years with support from the provincial government, and the majority will be in Charlotte County.

Premier Brian Gallant, Minister of Aquaculture and Fisheries Rick Doucet, and Cooke Aquaculture CAO Glenn Cooke made the job creation announcement before a small crowd gathered on the Blacks Harbour wharf Friday afternoon.
The new jobs will include marine site workers, technicians and managers, logistics experts and truck drivers – 25 will be created at the company’s office in Saint John and the remaining 75 will be spread across the head office in Blacks Harbour and at operations in St. George and Grand Manan.

“This is a great announcement which will have a strong and very positive impact on the aquaculture sector in the province, and I think we all know what the aquaculture sector’s done for us in the past,” said Doucet.
Gallant said the government’s multi-year economic growth plan is focused on investing to help New Brunswick businesses to compete in markets around the world.
Thanking the Cooke Aquaculture employees who were in attendance for making the company the success that it is, he said they should be very proud.

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“The company currently has more than 1,300 employees in various locations in the province, and they’re investing in hiring more New Brunswickers. Over the next five years the company will create up to 100 new jobs right here in New Brunswick.
“It is estimated that creating up to 100 new jobs will contribute $25 million in payroll over the five years and $80 million towards the province’s GDP over the same period.”

To support the creation of these new jobs Cooke Aquaculture is eligible for an investment by Opportunities New Brunswick of up to $990,000 in the form of payroll rebates, said Gallant.
He explained that payroll rebates are performance based and only disbursed to a company once it has created and maintained the jobs for one year, and provided proof of salary levels and employment.

In addition, Opportunities New Brunswick will invest $810,000 in the form of a forgivable loan and a $100,000 non-repayable contribution, both of which are to be used towards capital improvements to support continued growth.
“We are so pleased to be making this investment to create good jobs right here in Charlotte County and in Saint John. We are so proud of what you all have done to make Cooke Aquaculture the success that it is.”

Gallant said Cooke Aquaculture is a great example of how New Brunswick’s workforce and knowhow can help businesses grow from right here in this province.
Doucet spoke of how Cooke Aquaculture stepped up to the plate to help people during the recent flooding as well as during the 2010 flooding in Charlotte County.

“In the darkest days that we had in 2010, in the darkest days that people had in the Saint John River valley, who shows up but Cooke Aquaculture.

“They weren’t asked, they weren’t begged, it’s just a culture that they do – take care of the people. They not only take care of the people that work for them but they take care of citizens and they’ll do whatever they can to help out.”

He said they are an inspiring group of people and very good corporate citizens as whenever something is going on in the communities they are first to respond and first to help out.
“Our company’s goal is to deliver a world class seafood product to our customers and that’s the root of what we do but there is much, much more to Cooke Aquaculture and the Cooke companies,” said Cooke.

He said the company has grown from a small family salmon farm to having assets around the world with hatcheries, processing facilities, and vessels.
“And we improve the way we raise salmon in every possible way. Our modern farms are high tech operations and our practices are certified to the highest standards.
“However, I have always said and always believed that our true strength and most valuable asset is our people. That’s why today’s announcement with Opportunities New Brunswick is so important and so meaningful for me and my family and our company.”

Through all of the company’s growth and global expansion, said Cooke, Blacks Harbour has remained its home. Globally, he said, the company employs more than 6,000 people but to bring jobs back to Charlotte County gives him tremendous pride.
“Today’s announcement is about job creation. It’s about our company’s growth and not just in terms of bricks and mortar or new vessels or innovative equipment.
“Our local family owned Charlotte County company has grown and that’s what’s most exciting about this success – to see the impact of our growth here at home.”

He said Cooke supports jobs in 1,269 other Atlantic businesses through buying more than $230 million in goods and services on an annual basis.

“We are a family company in every sense and it’s great to see our family keep growing,” he said and by supporting Cooke Aquaculture, Opportunities New Brunswick was supporting local job creation.

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Barb Rayner
Barb Rayner has worked for the Saint Croix Courier for 20 years and is based in her home office in St. George. She covers news stories and events in the Eastern Charlotte area including St. George, Blacks Harbour, Beaver Harbour, Pennfield and Saint Andrews and can be contacted at 321-0517.