Les Pêcheries Gaspésiennes
Proud of its past and future-oriented, family-owned Les Pêcheries Gaspésiennes is dedicated to the diversification of its products and training the next generation to maintain its leading position in the industry. At the forefront of technology, Les Pêcheries Gaspésiennes has evolved over time to meet the growing needs of its valued customers by offering a wide range of fish and seafood products.
A quarter of a century has passed since Mr.Benoit Reeves and his associates, brothers and Ovila and Gaston Cloutier, founded the business with the opening of a groundfish processing plant in 1983. Modest facilities at the time allow the production of fresh fillets to markets in Quebec and Montreal. Ten employees participate in the birth of the company.
A division of Les Pêcheries Gaspésiennes is built in Petit-Cap village the following year to begin the drying of Gaspe Cured cod. Diversification of the business therefore begins by adding this new production of salted and dried fish. Equipped with modern kilns for drying inside these facilities create ten jobs. The same year, the company obtains an operating license for frozen products.
In 1986, the fish market opens its doors to retail sales on the local market. After first conquering the international market with its Gaspé Cured cod, the company offers at last its products to the local market. The people of Rivière-au-Renard village and surroundings are now lining up to make sure to get their hands on fresh, quality products from the sea directly to their plates, without an intermediary. The late 80s is fruitful for Les Pêcheries Gaspésiennes sees its number of employees increase from 30 to 60.
The company then lives through their most crucial period with declaration from the Canadian government of a moratorium on cod and groundfish in 1993. The company, through the Gaspé Cured consortium, must then turn for supplies in raw material outside the country to meet the demand of its customers. Thus, the fish always processed locally, now comes from Russia and Alaska. During this difficult time for the entire fishing industry, the company managed to keep its head above water by continuing to diversify its activities and finding solutions to the challenges ahead.
“Despite a reduced volume of at least 50% due to the moratorium, we kept the number of jobs to nearly 60, confirms Benoit Reeves. The diversification of our activities has allowed the company to remain competitive. ‘
In 1995, les Pêcheries Gaspésiennes obtains federal turbot fishing permits in the waters of Labrador. Two years later, the Cloutier brothers retire after a successful career. Diversification continues further in the late 90s when the company starts to purchase lobster for sales on the domestic market. An agreement with E. Gagnon et Fils plant allows Les Pêcheries Gaspésiennes to land 500,000 pounds of crab in the first year Today, the agreement continues with annual landings of 1.5 million pounds of crab. During the same period, the company also noted a sharp increase in landings of turbot.
Finally the 2000 season starts smoking the products already processed at the plant. This new string to the bow of the company allows Les Pêcheries Gaspésiennes to offer its customers value-added products. In 2007, the company builds a new modern smokehouse, completely automated, increasing its smoking capacity to triple the volume. “This is the most modern smokehouse in the province of Quebec, says Luke Reeves, director”. The equipment allows hot-smoking of fish to provide customers with ready-to-eat products. All these efforts prove that diversification is key in an ever changing industry. In the near future, Les Pêcheries Gaspésiennes will continue its momentum by focusing on the presentation and marketing of their fish & seafood products.