SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

May 4, 2012

Fish plant will close, eliminate 127 jobs

DANVERS — Nova Scotia-based High Liner Foods is consolidating, after netting three seafood companies in recent years, and yesterday it said it will close its local processing plant on Electronics Avenue.

The company plans to stop frozen seafood processing in the Danvers Industrial Park sometime in the first quarter of next year, meaning the loss of 127 hourly workers who run the plant, the company said in a statement.

High Liner Foods processes about 25 million pounds of seafood, primarily haddock, cod and pollock, in Danvers.

Another 125 salaried jobs in administration, sales and marketing will remain for the time being at what was the company's headquarters in the United States, said Keith Decker, president and chief operating officer of High Liner Foods (USA), in a statement. The company is evaluating its options for the Danvers facility.

The revenues of the town's electric division will also take a hit, given High Liner Foods is the second-largest electric customer in town, Town Manager Wayne Marquis said.

A large facility in Portsmouth, N.H., now serves as headquarters of High Liner Foods (USA), and it will be getting some of Danvers' manufacturing capacity, Decker said.

"We're all aware that this is a very difficult day for the workers and their families," Decker said. "We're extremely grateful and proud of their contributions to our company's success. This decision is about doing what's best for the future of our business and making sure we're operating in the most efficient way possible to be competitive."

"We hope that by giving them this significant advance notice, and phasing in the reductions, that this will give them the ability to prepare for the changes," Decker said.

Decker could not pinpoint when the Danvers plant will stop manufacturing seafood products.

"It will depend on a number of factors, including the timing of when we can shift our production volume to other sites," Decker said.

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