Most New Brunswickers have probably eaten the delicious salmon, scallops and shrimp that Cooke Aquaculture produces, but very few likely are familiar with the extent of Cooke’s business operations around the globe.
The family-owned sea farming operation, which is based out of Blacks Harbour and currently employs over 1,300 people in this province, recently announced further workforce and operations expansions right here in its home province.
Cooke expects to create 100 jobs in New Brunswick over the next five years, spread between its head office in Blacks Harbour, its Saint John office, and fishing and operations facilities in St. George and Grand Manan. This announcement comes on the heels of Cooke’s acquisition last year of Houston-based Omega Protein Corporation, and its gradual expansion overseas into the United States, Spain, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay throughout the decade prior.
Says Cooke Aquaculture CEO Glenn Cooke: “We’re a global company, but New Brunswick is our home. I’ve said it many times… That’s important to me and my family. We’re from here. We grew up in Blacks Harbour and St. George and when we built this company, we wanted to build a successful business but we also wanted to bring prosperity to our communities.”
The story of Cooke Aquaculture from 1985 through to today is a triumph of a New Brunswick company’s local knowledge, entrepreneurial spirit and intimate understanding of the food production industry. From conservation projects on the Miramichi and Restigouche rivers to cutting-edge sea lice removal systems and fish feeding techniques, Cooke has continually updated its own processes – and in doing so, has helped change global fish production.
By supporting Cooke’s pursuit of innovative solutions in the world of commercial fishing, the provincial government is actively supporting a company that has proven its New Brunswick bonafides. Through Opportunities NB, the government is investing $1.9 million in Cooke in the form of payroll rebates and loans that will help the company create even more jobs in the future through capital improvements. Over the next five years, this investment is expected to create $25 million in payroll and add $80 million to the province’s GDP, but more importantly, it will create great jobs in rural areas in the present and provide a template for more to follow later.
An investment in Cooke Aquaculture is an investment in New Brunswick know-how and ambition, in great jobs in this province, in more responsible food production – and in better seafood for everyone.