Middleton fish processing plant gearing up for summer start


Published on April 13, 2017

L.J. Robicheau and Son Fisheries Limited has purchased the Kings Processing plant in Middleton and are working towards a summer opening. The new plant will process, freeze, package, and create value-added fish products.

©Lawrence Powell

MIDDLETON - A family-owned fish processing plant in Middleton is expected to be up and running sometime this summer and could employ as many as 60 people in its first year. 

L.J. Robicheau and Son Fisheries Limited, with a plant in Little River, Digby County, recently purchased the former Kings Processing plant on Freeman Street, Middleton to expand their current operation.

“The Town of Middleton is quite pleased to welcome Robicheau Fisheries to town,” said Middleton’s CAO Rachel Turner. “They already have a stellar reputation in this region and this can only serve as a positive signal within our business park and to the community in general that we’re open for business.”

“The new plant operation will promote our focus to export to international markets (such as) China, Europe, Japan as well as expanding domestic markets,” said the company’s human resources officer Pete Berringer.

He said the new plant will process, freeze, package, and do value-added products.

A start date depends on how long it will take to retrofit the plant with new processing line equipment.

He said the new equipment, most importantly the installation of a tunnel freezer, will allow the plant to obtain the necessary BRC certification to expand into markets globally.

 

Employment

“Our intention is to begin operation with 10 to 15 employees and increase the number of employees within the first year and potentially even more thereafter,” he said. “This will include hiring and training of any and all new employees for the various operations in the plant under the direction of new plant manager Tim Samson.”

He said the existing plant at Little River, that employs up to 50 people at any given time, will continue operations as usual.  

L.J. Robicheau and Son Fisheries Limited is a family owned and operated business based in Middleton that has been in operation for more than 60 years. The managing partner is Lew Robicheau who has helped to expand the operation from a business started by his late grandfather Lewellyn Robicheau and his father Cecil Robicheau. Carol, Lew's mother and Cecil's wife, along with two of his brothers Rick and C.J. are also extensively involved in the business in various capacities.

The plant, last operational producing salads, has stood empty for more than a year. The inside of the building is clean and modern and such that Robicheau and Son Fisheries can gain needed certifications and be up and running quickly.

 

Support

In setting up the plant in Middleton, the company has been receiving various forms of support from all levels of government, plus information and direction from, Peopleworx, Valley REN, and the Town of Middleton, he said.

“We look forward to seeing them achieve their export goals amongst others and to supporting the company anyway we can,” said Turner.

“This is very good news for our region,” said Kelly Ells, CEO of the Valley Regional Enterprise Network. “By re-purposing this food processing plant, L.J. Robicheau & Son Fisheries is bringing investment and creating new jobs in our area. The future looks good in the Annapolis Valley.”

L.J. Robicheau and Son Fisheries Limited has purchased the Kings Processing plant in Middleton and are working towards a summer opening. The new plant will process, freeze, package, and create value-added fish products.

©Lawrence Powell