Fire destroys Thai Union’s lobster processing plant in Canada

Published on
May 26, 2020

Thai Union is evaluating damages caused by a fire erupted on 21 May at its Chez Nous lobster processing factory located in Tracadie-Sheila, New Brunswick, Canada.

In a statement sent to The Stock Exchange of Thailand on 25 May, Thai Union said local firefighters have responded quickly and no injuries were reported at the facility where around 330 employees were working at the time.

“The cause of the fire and extent of the damage is still being assessed. The plant carries insurance against damage caused by fire,” the company said.

It took fire personnel from Tracadie and four other communities more than three hours to put the blaze under control, CTV News reported 22 May, quoting the municipality's director of public security, Scott Myles.

"The plant is a total loss," he said.

Maritime Fishermen's Union Executive Director Martin Maillet told CTV News the fire served as another blow to local lobster sector, which was already struggling during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The pandemic has disrupted lobster exports, while the province’s travel ban imposed for temporary foreign workers has resulted in a shortage of labor forces for local processing plants.

Local prices of lobster were at CAD 3.00 to CAD 4.00 (USD 2.14 to USD 2.86, EUR 1.96 to EUR 2.62) per pound, between 30 and 40 percent lower year-on-year.        

"Fisheries have always been an up-and-down kind of business and we've been through some pretty bad situations in the past, so I'm hopeful that we're going to get through this," Maillet said.

The Thai Union’s factory processed 75,000 to 100,000 pounds of lobster per day prior to the fire, Maillet said.

Thai Union currently acquired full ownership of the Chez Nous lobster processor, which it acquired in 2016. The plant accounted for about 1.9 percent of the company’s revenue last year.

Photo courtesy of Les Pêcheries Chez Nous/Thai Union Canada

Contributing Editor reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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