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C$3 Million Loan for Cooke Aquaculture to Expand

NEW BRUNSWICK - Cooke Aquaculture is to receive a $3 million forgivable loan to help expand its St. George aquaculture and fish processing operations, creating 230 new jobs.

New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham said: "Our government is proud to invest in the jobs created by the expansion of Cooke Aquaculture and its efforts to expand its aquaculture and fish processing capacity.

"I am confident that continuing to build strategic partnerships such as this one will help New Brunswick achieve its goal of self-sufficiency by 2026."

The Premier was joined at today's news conference by Michael Cooke, chief operating officer of Cooke Aquaculture; Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet; and St. George Mayor Sharon Tucker.

"We are a local family company with deep roots in New Brunswick," said Mr Cooke.

"Even though we have expanded beyond Atlantic Canada's borders to be competitive globally, we remain committed to this region, to these communities and to its people. This commitment is backed by our company's ongoing capital investments in our Charlotte County operations, and it is further supported by the government, which recognizes the important role our sector can play in the province's future."

A total of 198 new employees have already been hired, and the remaining 32 will be hired by the end of 2008. The company has operations in Atlantic Canada, Maine and Chile, and employs 1,400 people.

"This announcement is part of our government's effort to be a leader in economic development and job creation," added Mr Graham.

"We are committed to supporting our New Brunswick companies and it is encouraging to see Cooke Aquaculture invest in its operations. By supporting this sector of the economy, we are helping it to modernize, to be innovative and to upgrade technologies to compete better in the global marketplace."

Cooke Aquaculture is an independent, family-owned company based in Charlotte County. The company is vertically integrated and manages its entire value chain, from fish egg to plate.

It offers a spectrum of premium fresh seafood products to the marketplace, including farmed salmon, trout, cod, and mussels under the brand names True North Salmon, Heritage Salmon and Jail Island Salmon.

Ellen Hardy

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