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Cooke Aquaculture acquires U.S.-based wild fishery

The Wanchese Fish Company – which harvests wild scallops, flounder and other seafood – is now part of the Cooke Aquaculture family and will be known as Cooke Seafood USA Inc.


Blacks Harbour, N.B. – One of Canada’s leading salmon producers on the East Coast has acquired a U.S.-based 75-year-old wild fishery in Suffolk, Va.

Cooke Aquaculture says the Wanchese Fish Company Inc. will now be known as Cooke WancheseScallops370x300Seafood USA Inc.

The Wanchese Fish Company started as a small fish processing plant in the harbour community of Wanchese on Roanoke Island in 1936.

Today the company has grown to become a leading supplier of seafood products in North America and Europe. And it’s still in the same family – being owned and managed by the second and third generations of the Daniels family.

For Cooke Aquaculture the deal marks a move into the wild-capture side of the seafood supply chain, says SeafoodSource.com.

“This purchase is an exciting venture for us as we add a well-respected, family-owned and vertically integrated fishing company to our family’s businesses,” said Glenn Cooke, CEO of the newly formed Cooke Seafood USA Inc.

“We have found many similarities in our corporate cultures, not only a strong focus on family values but also on investment in a well-managed and third party certified fisheries (MSC) – investments that are core to our family’s business philosophy.”

Wanchese is a vertically integrated seafood harvester, processor and distributor of its own line of products and can handle more than 4,000 tonnes of wild scallops, flounder and other seafood per year, reports TheFishSite.com. The company has a fleet of 15 vessels and is capable of processing product at sea.

In the late 1990s, Wanchese says it pioneered a new technology to produce its Wanchese Scallop Medallions. The new method resulted in a high-demand, flavourful product. As demand grew the company opened Suffolk Cold Storage, which serves as a state-of-the-art processing plant, cold storage facility and corporate office.

The company has locations in Argentina and France, with family members working at each site.

TheFishSite.com says the transaction is consistent with the Cooke family’s focus on vertical integration and diversification in terms of geography, products and markets. Cooke Seafood USA will provide another platform for future growth within the capture fishery.

Deanna Rosolen

Deanna Rosolen

Managing Editor, Food in Canada
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