Prince Edward Aqua Farms in New London has been harvesting and processing shellfish for over 25 years. Their mussels, sold under the Island Gold Blue Mussels brand, are distributed across North America and beyond, along with their quality PEI oysters, clams, and quahogs.
The plant has about 73 staff, 16 of whom are foreign workers. “Most of the workers from other countries have been with us since 2020,” says Heather Tuplin, who handles Human Resources, payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and fisher payroll.
“It has been additional work to go through the process of hiring foreign workers, but we have not had any bumps in the road. These workers have been able to secure housing in Charlottetown or Summerside.”
The company operates year-round. “The number of staff has increased over the last year. When COVID-19 first hit and continued to slow down the economy, we decreased production for about three months. Then business picked up and we have been steady ever since.
“Our oyster production went up significantly. We had to hire more graders and we were fortunate to be able to do so. Mussel production pretty much stayed the same.”
Right now, there are no positions open, but Heather encourages those interested to apply. “We have an aging population here at the plant.”
Heather says within the next five years they will see steady retirements, so they must keep looking for ways to maintain the staff they have and hire when necessary to maintain production levels.
“Entry-level wages start at $19.50/hr which increased in August of 2022. After the initial probationary period of six months, a full benefit plan is available, with medical, dental, eye care, and life insurance.
“There is also training available such as CPR courses, forklift training, and First-Aid. We also encourage staff to take training that is required to advance within the company.”