At your (surf)ice, Cape Bald Packers has been operating for 76 years

Posted on March 29, 2024 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments


Cape Bald Packers employees processing lobster at one of their facilities in Cap-Pelé, N.B. (photo credit: Champlain Seafood)

Striving to produce quality seafood at a fair price, Cape Bald Packers has been operating in New Brunswick for over 75 years. What started as a single lobster processing plant has grown to have sales offices in the United States and produce a variety of seafood products at facilities throughout Atlantic Canada. Now owned by Champlain Seafoods, operations continue at Cape Bald Packers, still headquartered in Cap-Pelé, N.B.

Getting started

Cape Bald Packers was first established by Joseph P. Landry, a Canadian senator and entrepreneur. In 1948, Landry opened a small lobster processing facility in Cap-Pelé, New Brunswick, which employed about 30 people. According to the company’s website, Landry had a simple philosophy in business: “If you make a top quality product, charge a fair price and above all maintain integrity, business will come.”

Over time, Cape Bald Packers diversified its product offerings to include Atlantic lobster, P.E.I. mussels and snow crab. However, as the company grew, efforts were made to maintain Landry’s vision of providing quality products and superior customer value.


A video about food safety in the seafood industry, featuring Cape Bald Packers (video credit: 3M Canada on YouTube)

International expansion

After 40 years of operating in Atlantic Canada, in the 1990s Landry decided to expand internationally. This led to the creation of the company’s Downeast Specialty Products brand when Landry opened sales offices across the border in Cumberland, Maine. To support growth, processing facilities were renovated, production processes were updated and the organization formed distribution partnerships with key seafood distributors across North America.

Eventually, Cape Bald Packers grew to have over 700 employees, as well as three processing facilities in its home province—two in Cap-Pelé and one in Richibucto-Village, which was acquired in 2014.

One of Cape Bald Packers’ facilities in Cap-Pelé, N.B. after being destroyed by fire in February 2019 (photo credit: Radio Canada)

New ownership

In December 2018, Cape Bald Packers and its Downeast brand in the U.S. were acquired by Champlain Financial Corporation. The private equity firm formed Champlain Seafood to act as the parent company for eight Atlantic Canadian seafood processors that continue to operate as separate brands with shared direction.

A few months later in February 2019, fires that were just 17 days apart destroyed Cape Bald Packers’ processing plant in Richibucto-Village and one in Cap-Pelé. It was a devastating blow for both small communities where the seafood processor was a major employer. Rather than rebuild both plants, the company decided to consolidate operations and only rebuild their second location in Cap-Pelé.

One of Cape Bald Packers’ facilities in Cap-Pelé, N.B. (photo credit: Champlain Seafood)

Still sailing

Today, operations continue at Cape Bald Packers, with headquarters remaining in Cap-Pelé and U.S. offices in Cumberland, Maine. From its three processing plants in Cap-Pelé, N.B. and Meteghan, N.S., the organization strives to produce quality lobster, crab and mussel products.

Still sailing strong, 76 years later.

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