Prince Edward Island: Training in PEI’s Processing Sector

An interview with Andrew Perry, General Manager, Polar Foods International Inc. (Souris and Morell Divisions)

The PEI fishery has undergone significant changes since the 1990s. We have had the cod closures, plant downsizing and the offshore trawler deployment. Despite these changes, our mussel and oyster harvesting and processing have done well and the lobster industry has remained strong, with many licensed fishermen and processing facilities.

Polar Seafoods International, a PEI-based company, is the largest seafood processor on the island, employing approximately 1,500 people in and around all of PEI’s lobster fishing grounds. It also has a large mussel facility in Borden, close to the Confederation Bridge.

Polar’s lobster products are shipped worldwide and include canned products, brine packs, raw tail production, meat packs, live shipments, and bisque by-products for chowders and so forth. It also produces mackerel, herring, flatfish, rock crab, spider crab, snow crab, silversides and smelts.

I had the opportunity to meet with Andrew Perry, General Manager for the Souris and Morell Divisions. Andrew has been involved in management training for 15 years and represents the second generation of his family to work in the seafood industry.

Andrew believes that a motivated, skilled supervisory and employee team can improve the productivity and efficiency of an operation, and that a highly skilled workforce will bring a team-building component to the workplace.

For the coming year, Andrew has several human resource budgeting priorities. His primary concern is the safety of all employees. His other priorities are supervisory training, operator efficiency (critical positions), labour-management relations, coaching and team-building, basic skills training and orientation training for new employees.

“The events of September 11, 2001,” Andrew says, “have resulted in greater restrictions and regulations with regard to the Canadian seafood processing industry. We have to address the concerns of our US and Asian customers in order to grow as a business, stay competitive and meet all import/export requirements. Polar Foods International has a QMP and HACCP program up and running, which has international acceptance.”

The need for training and upgrading of employee skills is ongoing. As the new General Manager, Andrew is committed to continuing the trend towards increased training. He says that this has become a more urgent priority with the many guidelines now being issued regarding the cross-border shipment of seafood products.

According to Andrew, only a motivated and skilled-based work unit can meet this challenge, which is a condition not only of the US market but also of the global market.

I would like to thank Andrew Perry for his time and his comments. For more information about Polar Seafoods International, please visit the company’s

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