Ocean Choice introducing canning operation at St. Lawrence

Paul Herridge
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Ocean Choice International (OCI) hopes to have the company’s first canning operation in this province up and running in St. Lawrence next month.

Martin Sullivan, president of Ocean Choice International Inc., speaks with the media in this file photo.

President and chief executive officer Martin Sullivan says the plan is to start with between 12-14 positions for four to five weeks with a possibility of future expansion.

The St. Lawrence plant, Ocean Choice subsidiary Grand Atlantic Seafood Inc, primarily processes crab, but also whelk, which will be the main canned species. There will also be some salt fish — cod, haddock or pollock, initially.

“So, it’s kind of an add to to the existing operation,” Sullivan said. “But we’re hoping to grow that. This is kind of  get something started, prove that it can work and then, hopefully, it’ll turn into something bigger down the road.”

Sullivan said the new operation requires a “fair amount” of investment in equipment, some modifications at the plant and training for employees.

Training component

“There’s a big training component to this because we’re not doing any canning in Newfoundland right now. We’ll engage the Marine Institute to do the proper training courses with our people on that.”

He said canned whelk is a very popular item in Asian countries, such as Korea.

“We’re supplying the frozen meat product now, but we’re hoping to grow that into actually doing further processing here.”

“So, it’s kind of an add-to to the existing operation, but we’re hoping to grow that.” Martin Sullivan

Sullivan said the St. Lawrence facility was chosen for the operation mainly because of its proximity to the resource, but suggested other factors also played a role.

“Whelk is one of the big impetuses for this, but also ... we have a good plant, a good workforce, a very co-operative working environment with the people, good management and the town has been very supportive since we’ve been here.”

Exciting news

Mayor Wayde Rowsell indicated The Town of St. Lawrence has a strong relationship with the company and says he is excited by the news.

“We are very encouraged by Ocean Choice International’s strong commitment to the St. Lawrence fish plant operation, and  are tremendously pleased with the introduction of a canning factory, which will create diversity and additional employment at the facility.

“We applaud them for introducing secondary processing here and believe this will add to long-term viability and business success of the company,” Rowsell said.

The Southern Gazette

Organizations: Grand Atlantic Seafood, Marine Institute

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Korea

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Recent comments

  • George D. Wright
    July 24, 2012 - 13:46

    So glad you got the chicken haddie back on the shelves . Babineau's chicken haddie makes the best tasting fish cakes there is, thanks again OCI. George

    • Lori Smyth
      February 22, 2013 - 15:14

      I live in London, Ontario and have not successful finding Babineau's or Brunswick Chicken haddies here anywhere. Can you direct me to where I too may purchase them in my province? Thank you....store name, phone # whatever you can share please.

  • Lynn
    November 12, 2011 - 09:58

    Can we expect chicken haddie in New Brunswick soon.Always use it and miss it.

    • Eugenie Embree
      January 08, 2012 - 18:03

      I'm also wondering when we can expect to see Chicken Haddie on the grocery store shelves again. We really miss it. Thanks.

  • Gail B.
    May 08, 2011 - 06:27

    Why can we not find Chicken Haddie in any of the grocery stores or corner stores in New Brunswick ? We have been using it for years & love it, now nowhere to be found. Thanks, Gail

  • Clark
    August 04, 2010 - 07:41

    Way to go Sullivan Family!! Its so great to hear that The Town of St. Lawrence is going to prosper from your great business. Now, to start franchising your company to the small communities that desperatly need the work!