Two fish processing companies that own plants in Prince Rupert quietly joined forces early last month.
The Canadian Fishing Company (Canfisco) and Ocean Fisheries decided to put all of their processing assets together as of June 1, essentially becoming one company at least on the production side. Both company say that they will be remaining competitors when the fish that was processed in Prince Rupert eventually makes it to the supermarket shelf.
Under the new arrangement, all of Ocean’s fish processing plants will be run by Canfisco while Ocean remains a mostly hands-off partner in the day-to-day running of the facilities. The Canfisco-run plants will still produce all of Ocean’s products and brands, which will be sold as separate competing companies like before. The advantage for Ocean in this arrangement is that it now has access to the production power of a much bigger company.
“What we see is it giving us access to an expanded source of supply and continuity, and especially access to some of their US plants when sometimes the BC catch isn’t that great, we can get access it that way. That’s a big plus for us. For [Canfisco,] I guess it brings some kind of consolidation to the industry,” says Aidan Hughes, who became the president of Ocean Fisheries when the new arrangement went into affect.
Hughes wasn’t the only person in Oceans management who got a new job out of the deal – several of Ocean’s most senior and experienced managers were moved from their company to Canfisco so that they can continue to help manage and oversee production. The changes were kept quiet, with only a memo sent to employees and customers telling them what had happened.
“Frankly, they’re the only people who are usually interested in these things,” explains Canfisco representative Rob Morely.
For the employees who work in the processing plants in Prince Rupert, the change is not likely to affect them more than any other change in management would. According to Morely, while Canfisco can’t say what the future might hold more than anyone else can, they are not planning on making changes to how the facilities work.