Supervisor Adillia Dicks, center, chats with workers processing snow crab at Mariner Seafoods in Montague after a last-minute deal was worked out to reopen the processing plant for the season. Guardian photo
MONTAGUE - A vacant seafood plant is getting a new lease on life this year as contractors converge on the former Mariner Seafoods in Brudenell to prepare for a spring opening.
The property is alive with specialists in water systems, hydraulics and electrical work as new owners who purchased the plant just before Christmas prepare for the 2016 fishery with intentions to hire as many as 200 workers.
“It’s a great news story to kick off the New Year,’’ said Montague Mayor Richard Collins.
“This is really big, big news for this area and people are already asking me who to contact for employment.”
The plant is expected to receive considerable improvements and new owners must deal with upgrading a disposal system that constantly failed in the past and led to environmental charges against the former operator.
The system flows into the Montague River.
The plant has been purchased by Chinese and American affiliates who have been operating the North Lake seafood plant for the past few years.
Mark Bonnell of Murray Harbour operated Mariner Seafoods for decades before it was closed in 2012.
“It’s certainly great news for the province and the fishery,’’ said Finance Minister and local MLA Al Roach.
“It’s great to have another processor coming and from what I understand they are advancing this venture on their own capital.”
No official comment has been released by the company.
“It’s a private sale,’’ said Fisheries Minister Allan McIsaac.
“I can only say at this point that any investment in our fishery has to be seen as positive. We hope the same in this case and look forward to working with the new owner.”
The new plant could operate three quarters of the year if plans are successful and process snow crab, lobster and possibly even vegetables.
At one time, the plant was a vegetable operation.
The former plant was closed in 2012 leaving hundreds without jobs.