Student job fair lands workers for Island fish plants

Ryan Ross
Published on June 7, 2014

Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley, left, shakes hands with P.E.I. Seafood Processors Association executive director Dennis King, centre, and P.E.I., Fishermen’s Association executive director Ian MacPherson at a news conference in Charlottetown Friday.

©THE GUARDIAN/Heather Taweel

Island fish plants could be getting a little relief for their labour shortage after a job fair in Souris got them a few applications, says a spokesman for the P.E.I. Seafood Processors Association.

Dennis King, the association’s executive director, said about 20 to 25 students applied for work in fish plants through the job fair held in Souris last week.

“We didn’t really have any grand expectations,” he said Friday.

Some Island lobster fishermen have recently faced quotas because of a labour shortage that has meant processors don’t have enough workers to handle the amount of lobster coming in.

Last week, King told The Guardian the industry was short about 400 workers.

To help fill that need the processers used to bring in temporary foreign workers but that has been harder this year because of restrictions the federal government placed on the program.

King said most of the applications from the job fair were for the plant in North Lake.

“That facility up there is in drastic need of employees.”

The North Lake plant has about 130 employees and has been operating at about 55 per cent capacity, King said.

“Any little bit is a help.”