Atlantic Sustainable Catch consolidating processing facilities in New Brunswick amid "volatile" lobster industry

Atlantic Sustainable Catch (ASC) is consolidating its production facilities in New Brunswick, Canada by closing one facility and moving all production to the other amid a Canadian lobster season experiencing high pricing.

The company said it is planning to idle the Atlantic Sustainable Catch facility in Escuminac at the start of the 2024 fishing season. All production at the Escuminac facility will be moved to its facility in Grand-Digue.

The two facilities were acquired by ACON Investments with the purchase of Suncoast Seafoods, Northern Wind Inc., and Raymond O’Neill & Son Fisheries in 2021. The three companies now make up Atlantic Sustainable Catch, and the two facilities are located on the Northumberland Strait in New Brunswick. Suncoast Seafoods, which operates the Grand-Digue facility, specializes in processing fresh Atlantic lobster for the American, Canadian, European, and Asian markets.

The products it produces include raw tails, cooked lobster meat, whole cooked lobster, and claws and arms, according to the Suncoast Seafood website.

In a release sent to SeafoodSource by Suncoast Seafood President Luc Doiron, the company said the idling is temporary.

“ASC’s decision to consolidate production is in response to volatile supply and demand factors of the last two seasons, which have impacted the entire industry,” the company said. “The integration of ASC’s Canadian production will create operational efficiencies by merging two facilities at partial capacity into one.”

Doiron told SeafoodSource that the plan is to start the season with production in Grande-Digue, and whether or not the company operates the Escuminac facility hinges on whether the market conditions and supply and demand factors allow for it. 

"Local seasonal employees in New Brunswick will be offered a position at ASC’s location in Grand-Digue for the 2024 season," he said. "ASC expects a strong and successful 2024 season across all species, for both our customers and employees."

Canada’s season in lobster fishing areas 33 and 34 opened for the season in early December, initially starting off with a CAD 10 (USD 7.40, EUR 6.81) per pound price. In recent weeks, the shore price has reportedly risen to as much as CAD 13 (USD 9.62, EUR 8.86) per pound, while the gap between certain grades of lobster has reached as much as CAD 4 (USD 2.96, EUR 2.782) per pound.

Early in the season, Tangier Lobster Company Managing Director Stewart Lamont told SeafoodSource the initial CAD 10 price was above what was expected, and could be too high. In the company’s recent “front lines lobster report,” he reported many of the company’s dealing with lobster have spreadsheets that “reveal red ink in the current Homarus model.”

“The numbers simply don’t add up if you buy and sell a lobster right now,” Lamont wrote.

Photo courtesy of crbellette/Shutterstock


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