SEALORD, one of New Zealand’s largest fishing companies, has warned that jobs could be at risk at one of its main factories in the country due to cheap foreign imports.
The company said it has spoken to employees at its Nelson site about a proposal to halt production of some of its boxed hoki fish products as they were losing money.
A Sealord spokesman said: ‘Production for these products has seen a continued downward trend over recent years.
‘Sales volumes have reduced significantly as a result. The current situation is not sustainable for Sealord.
‘We are consulting with the people potentially impacted, and if the proposal goes ahead it could mean up to 57 permanent Sealord waged and three salaried roles may be lost.’
The company said it was in sound financial shape and was committed to fish processing in Nelson.
Sealord is jointly owned by the ethnic Iwi (Maori) population and the Japanese seafood company Nissui.
It also has extensive processing facilities in the UK at a site near Grimsby, but this is not affected as its production focuses on traditional British species such as cod, haddock and plaice.
The staff union at the Nelson site said the workers were shocked by the news: ‘Some workers have been there for several years, and it’s through no fault of their own that hoki processing is no longer viable for Sealord in New Zealand.’
However, Sealord said it was hoping to lessen the impact by creating 15 new roles at its nearby wetfish factory.