CANADA – Canadian seafood company, Cooke has announced the closure of its facility located in New Bedford, Massachusetts, operated by its US subsidiary True North Seafood.

With the closure scheduled to take place by the end of May, True North Seafood announced that it will relocate its operations to its sister plant at Wanchese Fish Company in Virginia.

According to the company, the decision aims to optimize the company’s capacity at the Wanchese Fish Company processing plant and cold storage facility to better serve its customers.

Wanchese Fish Company processes various seafood products such as scallops, shrimp, oysters, crab, and various fish species. Located in Suffolk, Virginia, the plant supplies customers in both North America and Europe.

The New Bedford facility currently employs 58 staff members and has contracts with 36 contract workers.

Cooke, headquartered in New Brunswick, Canada, operates manufacturing facilities in several regions, including its domestic market, the US, South America, Europe, and Australia.

When asked for further comment on the reasons behind the closure of the New Bedford facility, Cooke declined to provide additional information.

Cooke acquired the New Bedford site through its subsidiary True North Seafood’s acquisition of Mariner Seafood in 2020.

Additionally, Cooke acquired US seafood business Slade Gorton a year ago and made two seafood acquisitions in August 2022, including Belgian shrimp company Morubel and a deal with Tassal

India aims for US$12B seafood exports

Meanwhile, in other seafood news, India is setting its sights on expanding its seafood exports to reach US$12 billion within the next two years, up from the current US$8 billion.

The focus will primarily be on high-end markets such as the United States and Europe, according to government officials.

India has emerged as a major supplier of seafood to the United States, particularly frozen shrimps, with exports doubling over the past eight years to reach US$2.6 billion in the fiscal year 2022/23.

Total frozen shrimp exports exceeded US$5.6 billion during the same period, based on estimates from the commerce ministry.

The government aims to achieve this ambitious export target by emphasizing value addition and catering to high-end markets, while also promoting good labor and environmental practices among exporters.

Shrimp farming, in particular, has created significant opportunities for around 200,000 workers, primarily women in Southern states like Andhra Pradesh. However, there are concerns about weak global demand for this fiscal year.

Officials dismissed allegations of exploitative labor practices raised by a report from the Corporate Accountability lab, stating that they were baseless and potentially motivated by trade rivalry.

To address any concerns, the government may consider conducting an independent study of working conditions in the seafood industry.


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