Cooke fires up the processing line in Hermitage-Sandyville

Clayton Hunt
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Glad to be back to work

Roberta Goods, a resident of Hermitage-Sandyville, is a very happy camper these days.

The Cooke Aqua operation began in Hermitage-Sandyville on July 2 and is now processing 90,000 to 100,000 lbs. of farmed salmon daily. Karen Forsey and Joyce Loveless were busy on Wednesday evening, July 30 in quality grading salmon that had just gone through the gutting and cleaning line. The operation will be going seven days a week to mid-August when it will experience slower production for trout. However, the operation should pick up steam again on October 1 when Cooke salmon in the Gaultois Passage will be ready for processing.

Goods was a Cooke employee at the company’s operation in Harbour Breton but is now working at the company’s operation in Hermitage.

“We started processing here on July 2,” Goods said, “and I simply love working here. I can be at work just 10 minutes after being notified of when to come in.

“I don’t have to worry about fog, moose, and potholes that we encountered in our drive to Harbour Breton. This operation is great for us and the community.”

Bill Carter is the manager of the Cooke processing operation in Hermitage-Sandyville.

Carter told the Advertiser last week the plant is a state-of-the-art facility with the most modern off-load and holding systems, chill and refrigeration units, and gutting and grading lines.

He said that as of July 30 the operation was processing about 8,000 fish a day, which will increase to 10,000 fish — or about 100,000 pounds — a day.

The plant is expected to see operation seven days a week from late July to mid August. Production will slow a little then, as it shifts to processing trout two days a week.

However, when salmon from the Gaultois Passage is ready for processing by October 1, the plant will return to more days of operation each week.

“Our fish is gutted and cleaned here and graded by quality and size and sent for further processing, if needed, in New Brunswick,” Carter explained.

“Our larger fish, those over 10 lbs., go directly to market from New Brunswick while the smaller fish are filleted.

“We do have a filleting line here at Hermitage, but right now we’re just gutting and cleaning the fish here for New Brunswick.”

There are 27 full-time workers at the operation now with about nine people employed on a casual basis.

Ada Rose said she is really glad that Cooke opened a processing operation in her community.

“I like doing different jobs here and working with this great group of people,” Rose said.

“There’s a great group of employees here and the management is excellent,” Norma Loveless added. “We don’t have to travel too far from Seal Cove for work. This is just great for us.”

Lou Mackey also said he really enjoys working at the facility.

“I love being here,“ Mackey said. “This is great for us and the community.”

Everett Rose, from Harbour Breton, also has a job at the plant.

“I’m doing the same work here that I did with Cooke in Harbour Breton, looking after the blood treatment system. I’m getting used to the new employees here who are a great group of people to work with.

“They are good, hard workers and this is a great opportunity for them.”


Geographic location: Harbour Breton, Hermitage-Sandyville, Hermitage New Brunswick Seal Cove

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