17 Oct 2009

Nelson mussel plant begins closure

6:57 am on 17 October 2009

A second Nelson mussel processing plant has started closing down, with the first of about 75 employees finishing work on Friday.

Sea Health Foods, which processes half shell mussels for export, says its closure has been forced by a collapsing international market exacerbated by the strong New Zealand dollar.

The last of its employees will finish work in about six weeks.

Another company, Sealord, closed its mussel plant in May last year with the loss of 300 jobs.

Sea Health Foods' managing director David Hogg says the mussel industry needs to do more to differentiate its product in overseas markets, and to stop head-to-head competition which he says is crucifying producers.