September 21, 2019
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Fire destroys lobster processing plant on Passamaquoddy Bay

A large fire has destroyed part of a New Brunswick lobster processing plant that is just across the border from Maine and is owned by one of the largest lobster industry firms that operates in the state.

A fire at the Paturel International plant on Deer Island, New Brunswick, was reported around 2:30 a.m. Atlantic time on Thursday, according to a CBC report. The fire destroyed a warehouse and packing plant at the facility.

The Paturel plant, located less than two miles from the Maine border, is owned by East Coast Seafood, a global seafood distributor based in Lynn, Massachusetts, that also owns the Maine Fair Trade Lobster processing plant in Gouldsboro.

Approximately 100 people work at the Deer Island facility, the CBC reported. The plant was not operating when the fire broke out and there were no injuries.

In a prepared statement, a spokeswoman for East Coast Seafood said Thursday that live lobster operations at the Deer Island facility will continue but that its processing operations will be moved to “one or more of our twelve facilities across North America to fulfill the commitments we made to our customers.”

East Coast Seafood is still assessing the damage, Christina Ferranti-Clift said in the release. The company did not provide additional details about where the plant’s processing capacity will be relocated.

Thursday’s fire is the second conflagration that has occurred at a Paturel operation on Deer Island in the past six months. A lobster storage site on the other side of the island was destroyed by a fire in September, the CBC reported last fall.

Paturel International also owns and operates a live lobster warehouse and processing facility in Clark’s Harbour, Nova Scotia. East Coast Seafood Group owns Seatrade International, which operates scallop processing plants in Lakeville and New Bedford, Massachusetts; Garbo Lobster, a distributor with operations in Hancock, Maine and Canada; and Worldwide Perishables Enterprises, a major freight company with operations in the Northeast and Atlantic Canada.

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