December 6 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Large scale crab processing is returning to Cromer this week - a year after the town’s big seafood factory shut with the loss of 230 jobs.
Local fisherman Kevin Jonas is relocating his crab and lobster venture from a unit at his East Runton home to a former beer distribution depot in the town, where output can treble to up to 3,000 crabs a day.
The Jonas Seafood factory officially opens on Friday. It will initially employ 22 people, but is looking to double up in the height of the season from March to November.
It was feared that large scale processing of fresh, locally caught crab and lobster would be a thing of the past when the Cromer Crab Company factory a short distance away down the Holt Road, closed its doors just a year ago.
The axing by Young’s Seafoods came despite a campaign to stop production being switched to a sister factory on Humberside.
Buoyed up by public and council support Mr Jonas and business partner Nick Samujlik - who used to work for the former Cromer Crab factory, have kitted out the former Beer Seller warehouse with the latest equipment - which they hope will enable them to secure more orders from big supermarkets.
The venture has been backed by council, government and private funding. There are plans to add an on-site shop in April 2014.
North Norfolk District Council leader Tom FitzPatrick said he was delighted the authority had been able to help with the expansion of Jonas Seafoods, bringing large-scale seafood processing back to Cromer.
“We tried hard to forestall the closure of the Cromer Crab Company, but when that became inevitable we were determined to work just as hard to bring about a replacement processing facility, and here it is.
“This new facility will help not just to safeguard and promote the unique Cromer crab and lobster brand, but also support the local inshore fishing industry and many associated local jobs and families at the same time.”
Mr Jonas added: “It’s been hard work, but the council offered us outstanding support, smoothing out a long and complex process.”