Thousands of lobsters thrown away at short-staffed N.B. plants

FREDERICTON -- Despite unemployment rates hovering near double-digit territory, some New Brunswick lobster plants were so short-staffed last year that thousands of pounds of lobster had to be thrown out.

See Full Article

New Brunswick Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet said Wednesday he knows of one plant that had to discard about 3,000 pounds of lobster because they couldn't find enough staff to process the crustaceans.

"I'm seeing companies having to throw away product because they just don't have the manpower to process at peak times," said Doucet.

"We have companies that have been holding back on major expansion plans because they don't have the people to fill the spaces."

He said it's also disappointing to see some companies having to send lobster to neighbouring Maine to be processed.

New Brunswick has 44 active lobster processing facilities and had more than $700 million in export sales of lobster last year, but some plants are already advertising for workers. Paturel International on Deer Island, N.B., currently has a job listing seeking 85 people to be shellfish labourers. The job pays $11.25 to $13.93 per hour, based on experience and education.

But in spite of the province's struggles with unemployment and retention, Doucet said there are some jobs that Canadians won't do.

He's hoping the federal government will make more people available through the temporary foreign worker program to avoid future lobster losses.

"It is a program that has worked extremely well for the industry because a lot of the time it is seasonal employment that is needed," Doucet said.

Alex Furlong, regional director of the Canadian Labour Congress, says industries should step up their recruiting to get more Maritimers into those jobs.

"There are jobs that are available and Maritimers certainly could avail of those so I think it's incumbent on any industry to actively recruit those workers in a progressive way with enhanced wages and benefits," Furlong said, calling the temporary foreign worker idea a temporary fix.

But Doucet argues that many people still wouldn't take the jobs even with another $5 or $10 dollars an hour.

In January, New Brunswick's jobless rate was 9.3 per cent, while it was 8.5 per cent in Nova Scotia and 9.5 per cent in Prince Edward Island.

During his recent state of the province address, New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant noted that there were more than 2,800 jobs waiting to be filled in New Brunswick. He has stressed education as a means to prepare people for the available jobs.

But Ian MacPherson of the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association says filling seasonal jobs will always be difficult, especially when the fishing, agriculture and tourism industries are all looking for people at the same time.

The lobster industry on the Island has been having a difficult time in recent years finding enough people to work on the deck of the boats each season.

MacPherson said 65 per cent of the boat captains in the province are now over the age of 50, and one-third of the captains started out in summer jobs on deck.

He said it's hoped that a new training program through Holland College -- that includes actual time on a lobster boat -- will be enough to attract new recruits.

"We hope to show that not only is it a decent summer job, but at the end of the day it may be something that turns into a career," he said.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Tesla swings to lost in 4Q, says Model 3 on target

    Economic CTV News
    DETROIT -- Unable to string together profitable quarters, electric car and solar cell maker Tesla Inc. reported a loss for the last three months of 2016. Tesla posted its first profit in three years in last year's third quarter and had predicted net income in the fourth quarter. Source
  • Tesla swings to loss in 4Q, says Model 3 on target

    Economic CTV News
    DETROIT -- Unable to string together profitable quarters, electric car and solar cell maker Tesla Inc. reported a loss for the last three months of 2016. Tesla posted its first profit in three years in last year's third quarter and had predicted net income in the fourth quarter. Source
  • United Airlines enters basic economy fare wars in the U.S.

    Economic CTV News
    On Tuesday, United began selling basic economy fare tickets on select domestic routes in the U.S., joining American Airlines and Delta in offering a budget option for fliers. It's a move aimed at staying competitive in a market that's becoming increasingly crowded with low-cost and ultra-low cost carriers. Source
  • SodaStream recalls bottles at risk of bursting

    Economic CBC News
    SodaStream Canada has recalled some one-litre bottles because consumers could be injured if the bottles rupture while the contents are being carbonated. The recall was issued jointly by Health Canada, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and SodaStream Canada Ltd. Source
  • Good news for Bombardier? Business jet sales may be bolstered by Trump tax cuts

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- The U.S. government's plan to cut corporate taxes will bolster the business jet industry which last year had its weakest performance since 2004, an association representing the sector said Wednesday. "It will be a good shot in the arm for the industry," said Pete Bunce, CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Source
  • Tim Horton's parent buys Popeyes chicken

    Economic CTV News
    Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of Burger King and Canada's Tim Hortons donut shops, said Tuesday it has reached a deal to buy American fried chicken chain Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. The sale price is US$1.8 billion, or US$79 per share, according to a statement, representing a 27 percent premium over Popeyes' recent average stock price. Source
  • Apple acquires facial recognition start-up

    Economic CTV News
    RealFace specializes in developing artificial intelligence (AI) based facial recognition software. Its first consumer application, Pickeez, can find all the photos of a given person on a smartphone or in a Facebook folder and can even pick the best shots. Source
  • TransCanada asks shippers to support new natural gas pipeline tolls

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- TransCanada (TSX:TRP) is proposing a new pipeline tolling system it says will allow western Canadian natural gas to be shipped to Ontario at lower rates to better compete with growing American supplies. The Calgary-based energy transport company is inviting shippers to sign long-term binding commitments by March 9 to move gas on its underutilized Canadian Mainline system from a shipping centre in Alberta to a hub in southern Ontario. Source
  • Saputo poised to gain full control of Australia's Warrnambool dairy

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Canadian dairy giant Saputo Inc. is poised to gain full ownership of Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Co. after Lion Dairy and Drinks accepted a sweetened offer to sell its minority stake in the Australian cheese and dairy producer. Source
  • SodaStream recalls thousands of bottles due to danger they could rupture

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA - SodaStream is recalling thousands of its bottles in Canada and the U.S. because of a danger they may rupture when a user is in the process of carbonating water. The maker of water carbonation machines said it was voluntarily recalling the bottles due to a manufacturing defect. Source