A friendly face returns to the Port Hardy plant

September 12, 2016 - Port Hardy, B.C.

Bruce Lloyd has worked in our world-leading Port Hardy processing team for a year, though he’s anything but new to Marine Harvest and salmon processing in British Columbia.

Bruce is one of a handful of “mill refugees” from Port Alice who have returned to aquaculture following the closure of the Neucel Specialty Cellulose in 2015. Some of them have taken jobs on the sea sites, working shifts away from town, while others joined the Monday to Friday processing team.

“Farming fish is the way to go because it is year-round. It’s more fun than the mill, it is a cheery place,” Bruce says. “I’m 59 years old: I was lucky to get hired at my age last year."

This articulate labourer is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He holds Bachelor of Arts in history and theology and studied journalism at Langara College in Vancouver. He says he followed the footsteps of his father by moving to the country and pursuing blue collar jobs in logging, booming or fish processing. “This after a two year stint in social work as I like to get paid for my overtime,” he quips.

For 15 years he expressed his passion for letters by writing a column in the North Island Weekender and Midweek. Well-experienced in working with wild and farmed salmon, Bruce worked at Stolt Sea Farms packing facility at Englewood and at the Port Hardy plant at the start of this century when it was Alpha Processing. He stayed through the Pan Fish takeover and he was involved in bringing the union onto the site under the new management.

“Europeans are quite progressive, they weren’t upset when we unionized it. It was the IWA, and now it is the Steelworkers, which is neither here nor there. When you have a stable, practical union it is good for both sides.”

When he isn’t at work he kayaks, canoes and volunteers in the community. He’s regularly carrying out chainsaw work, mowing lawns and painting at houses and schools. Port Alice is shrinking but it is still a good place to live, according to Bruce. The camaraderie between the mill refugees spills over from the plant to their carpooling and community activities. 

Bruce has a daughter, and two sons who served in the Canadian armed forces. His youngest son is about to embark on another tour of duty to Iraq, while his daughter and other son have settled in Port McNeill. In May, Bruce celebrated the arrival of his first grandchild, Leila Marie.