The economic impact of shutting down the local sardine cannery is already being felt.

The same day the closure was announced, Winter Harbor Selectwoman Diana Young ran into a woman who runs the local day care center.

The closure would end her business, the woman worried. With 130 people out of work at the cannery, many either won’t need day care or won’t be able to afford it.

“The domino effect from this is quite large,” Young said.

Any time there are layoffs or plant closures, the economic ramifications can be widespread and sometimes subtle.

Unemployed people buy less, put off needed auto or home repairs and generally conserve their money. And in a rural area, where the economic web is tiny, the loss of a major employer like the Bumble Bee sardine cannery in Prospect Harbor will be a shock.

Every cannery payday, Chad McLean sees a bump in business at his local market, Mc’s Marketplace. Every lunch time, he sees orders from cannery workers. He knows what will happen when the cannery closes in April.
“It’s going to impact my business, for sure,” he said.

And the closure will have a number of more direct ramifications.

Bait dealers, for instance, buy herring from the cannery to sell to lobstermen.

“If the dealers can’t get it, we can’t get it,” said Arvide Bradstreet, captain of the Last Chance, a lobster boat. “It’s going to hit all of us, not just (those) people.”

At the very least, the dealers will get bait somewhere else, said Bradstreet, but it will cost more.
Herring byproducts that don’t sell as bait get shipped to the company’s Blacks Harbour plant in Canada, to be made into fish food.

Local truckers do the shipping, and that work will be gone.

Jobs are scarce in the area, so it will be difficult to absorb any losses into the local economy. That’s particularly true in difficult economic times, when many people are already out of work.

Hancock County’s unemployment rate was 10.2 percent in December – 2 percentage points higher than the state’s rate.

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