GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

September 7, 2010

Fed dogfish, skate mandates shutter Gloucester's Zeus Packing — and 70-80 jobs

The Zeus Packing Co. has been a lifeline during the long, unrelenting, regulated hard times for the day boat groundfishing fleet — the 60 or so remnants of what had been the world's pre-eminent fishing port.

With the groundfish complex under extraordinary protection and the fishermen rationing record small allocations of cod and flat fish in their first apportionment of catch shares, boatsmen could at least keep busy and keep the lumpers, the cutters, the packers and the truckers employed in a "trash" fish sector — skates and dogfish — that provided steady work.

Although landing prices were in the pennies — a fraction of the premium prices fetched by the fine table fish that end up in linen-tabled restaurants and East Coast kitchens, the work was dependable.

But now — despite all the empirical evidence from fishermen and the one place where it counts, the trawl surveys of the government, telling a conservation success story of a Northwest Atlantic teeming with dogfish and skates — the federal government has effectively shut down the closely related fisheries to protect stocks that would no longer seem to need protection.

So the Zeus Packing Co. is no longer packing. And the 70 to 80 people who drew paychecks from Zeus, an eight-year-old company founded in Gloucester by Spanish interests to buy, clean, pack and export to markets in Europe and Asia, are no longer getting those checks.

Kristian Kristensen, the Zeus CEO, said Tuesday he sees it all as such a waste, nearly a farce. And he attempted to document that through a tour of the refrigerated cleaning and packing rooms, about 8,000 to 9,000 leased square feet in the Gloucester Seafood Display Auction complex that thanks to NOAA actions have the ambiance of a morgue.

"Instead of laying off people," said Kristensen, "we should be hiring people."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive