Cooke Seafood mourns co-founder

Gifford Cooke on a rowing boat

Gifford Cooke, the Canadian marine mechanic who created one of the world’s largest seafood businesses, has died.

He was co-founder of the Cooke Seafood group, which turned a local New Brunswick company into a global operation and transformed a single Canadian fish farm into an aquaculture operation employing thousands of people.

The Cooke empire stretches across the world from North America to Australia and over to Scotland and Continental Europe.

A company statement said today: “The Cooke family is deeply saddened to announce the death on March 3, 2024, of Gifford Cooke, co-founder with his sons Glenn and Michael Cooke in 1985 of Cooke Aquaculture Inc.”

Joel Richardson, Vice President of Public Relations added: “On behalf of the Cooke family and our employees, I would like to express our gratitude for the immense contributions Gifford has made to rural coastal communities in Eastern Charlotte, New Brunswick, and throughout Atlantic Canada and the globe.

“Over the decades, Gifford and his children, Glenn, Michael and Debbie built a local family company into a global seafood leader with fully integrated facilities, product lines and distribution networks. Cooke provides careers to nearly 13,000 employees in 15 countries and is passionate about supporting community and conservation projects.”

Gifford Cooke was a marine mechanic for much of his career in Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick. With his sons, he established Kelly Cove Salmon, a fish farming company with one site, in 1985, and went on to found the company’s first hatchery in 1989. The family set up True North Salmon in 1994 to manage marketing, processing and distribution.

At Cooke Aquaculture, he worked alongside the employees to modernise the company’s freshwater salmon hatcheries, vessel fleet, and led countless construction projects. The company also expanded into catch fisheries and grew through acquisitons around the world from Scotland and Spain to Australia and Chile.

The company added: “Gifford’s outgoing personality, robust work ethic, friendly sense of humour and steadfast faith will leave a void not easily filled. The global Cooke family will miss him greatly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Marjorie, family, and his many friends.”

 

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