It was an exciting day for folks in Washington County Wenesday.
At a time when many businesses are announcing layoffs, there’s one that’s hiring, scores of people.
":It is a red letter day for Washington county.":
That’s how community leaders feel about Cooke Aaquaculture reopening it’s salmon processing plant in Machiasport.
":Great investment in not only today but our future.":
":We are very glad to see aquaculture back.We think it’s a staple to our region.We couldn’t be more pleased to see it going through a rebirth right here in Washington County.":
":It was a sad day back in 2 thousand 4 when we had to close the plant for basically the lack of production.There was not enough fish in the water to sustain plant operations.":
Cooke Aquaculture has invested millions of dollars to turn that around,
getting the latest technology and changing methods used to grow healthy salmon.
":We are working 4 to 5 days a week but we are really hoping to increase the production to go 6 days a week.":
More than one hundred people will be employed at the plant by the end of the month.
":These are well paying jobs and people have benefits with those jobs and they are year round permanent jobs.It’s not seasonal or temporary.":
":It’s a very big opportunity for people in this community because there’s not very many jobs around here that pays as well,have as many benefits.":
Officials say the plant opening marks a big day for the Aqualculture industry.
":Instead of just harvesting a fish and sending it somewhere else to be processed we can process it here in Maine and add value to the product in forms they put it in so it’s not just gutting the fish.It’s actually turning it into fillets or portion sizes.":
":We’re growing fish here in Maine and now we are processing fish in Maine so we think it’s a great day.":
Unfortunately, the economic news isn’t all good.
The True Textiles Company has announced that it will lay off between 75 and 90 people, starting January 26th.
Kris Crisman, Senior Vice President for human resources, says the poor economy is to blame.
True Textiles makes fabrics for office furniture.
Most of the layoffs are expected to effect workers at its plant in Guilford, although the company’s Newport employees could also lose their jobs.
Almost three dozen employees at Old Town Canoe are off the job for the next month or so.
A spokesperson for Johnson Outdoors which runs the Old Town facility says the company is laying off 35 people.
Cynthia Georgeson also blames the economy saying orders are slower than usual right now.
But she expects production to pick up again closer to spring and have those employees to return to work in the next four to six weeks.
The company will continue to pay workers’ benefits while they’re off the job.
About 184 people work at the Old Town facility.