MACHIASPORT, Maine — Cooke Aquaculture, a leading producer of farm-raised Atlantic salmon and other fish, has resumed operations at a processing plant in Machiasport, the company announced Wednesday.
Forty people are working at the plant, operated by True North Salmon, the processing, sales and marketing division of Cooke Aquaculture USA. It is located in the fishing village of Bucks Harbor.
The 30,000-square-foot plant began operating again Tuesday, said Andrew Lively, director of marketing for True North Salmon.
The company hopes to add a second shift of about 30 more workers in the near future, Lively said.
“A lot of this is related to demand” and market conditions, he said.
Plant operations were suspended in March because winter weather conditions affected harvesting schedules. The company also has salmon-growing operations in Machiasport.
Many of the people who began working this week are returning employees who responded to recall notices, according to Lively.
“I applaud True North Salmon for its commitment to Maine and ensuring sustainability of the salmon industry,” Gov. Paul R. LePage said in a news release issued by the company. “These are good-paying jobs providing economic stability for Maine families.”
The plant produces value-added salmon products that are shipped fresh. It processes salmon into fillets and portions, some with skin and others with the skin removed.
“There is an increased demand for fresh Atlantic salmon raised in Maine,” said company CEO Glenn Cooke. “We are committed to increasing our farming sites to meet production volume efficiencies and consumer demand. Our goal is to increase our sustainable salmon production and year-round employment in rural Maine.”
True North Salmon supplies fresh Atlantic salmon to customers in North America, including Harbor Fish Market at Custom House Wharf in Portland, online retailer Fresh Direct and celebrity chef Rick Moonen.
Cooke Aquaculture is a vertically integrated family company with headquarters in Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick. It owns aquaculture operations in Canada, Chile, Spain and Scotland as well as significant operations in the U.S., according to its website.
In addition to the processing facility and growing operations in Machiasport, Cooke Aquaculture operates hatcheries and ocean farm sites elsewhere in Maine.