The world loves fresh Atlantic salmon and there is no larger producer of this aquatic delight than True North Salmon; the processing, sales and marketing division of Cooke Aquaculture, which is based in Black’s Harbour, New Brunswick. Cooke is a family-owned firm now celebrating its 30th anniversary with operations across the globe in Canada, Chile, Spain, Scotland and the United States. Established in Kelly Cove, New Brunswick in 1985 with one farm site, Cooke has grown to over 100 farms on North America’s east coast, producing 115 metric tons of salmon annually.

The True North Salmon plant in Machiasport, Maine processes salmon fillets from Cooke’s Maine and New Brunswick farms. The 30,000 square foot facility was first opened in 1997. In 2006 after Cooke purchased the east coast operations of two major multi-national aquaculture companies, including the Machaisport plant, the company committed to rebuilding the industry in Maine into an economically viable and environmentally responsible industry. They restructured the farming sector into bay management areas to allow for crop rotation and fallowing and made significant investments into new equipment and technologies in Maine’s hatcheries, farms and processing plant.

Cooke Aquaculture USA employs nearly 200 workers in Maine with more than half the workers at the Machiasport True North Salmon plant processing salmon for customers across North America including Harbor Fish Market at Custom House Wharf in Portland, Maine. They process and sell more than 80 million pounds of Atlantic salmon each year. From hatchery to plate the process involves quite a journey. Smolts from the hatchery are placed in sea pens to mature into adult fish. After approximately 18 months the salmon are transported to the plant for processing. Each is eviscerated, graded, weighed, inspected for quality and kept chilled. They are then packed in boxes for transportation as whole fish or processed further to add value as fillets, portions, skewers or marinated products. Every part of the fish is used and nothing is left to waste. The heads, scales and carcass are ground up for fertilizer or for pet food consumption.

The F. A. Peabody Company has enjoyed working with True North Salmon for over ten years helping them coordinate loss control, claims and risk management services for their workers compensation program. Safety is a primary concern for True North Salmon and they have an impressive team of professionals implementing health and safety measures to ensure their Maine workforce is at its best. “Great reporting, pro-active and personal service with everyone working as a team,’ exclaims Bradley Lewis, Cooke Aquaculture’s Director of Health and Safety. Along with Human Resource Manager Donna Brown, Risk Manager Roger Young, Great Falls Insurance Company’s Claims Manager Marti Conti, and Underwriting Manager Shelly Merrow, the loss time and incident rates are way down. They genuinely care about their workplace health and safety and it shows.

Photo (Managers Left to Right):
Roger Young – Health and Safety Coordinator, True North Salmon
Marti Conti – Claims Manager, Great Falls Insurance Company
Shelly Merrow – Underwriting Manager, Great Falls Insurance Company
Bradley Lewis – Health and Safety Manager, True North Salmon/ Cooke Aquaculture

Christopher Anderson, CPCU, CIC, WCP, is the Agent for True North Salmon specializing in workers’ compensation programs for manufacturing, health care and non-profit accounts.