Posted at: 08/08/2013 5:36 PM
| Updated at: 08/08/2013 6:14 PM
By: Abigail Bleck
GREENPORT--A local fishery appears to be drowning in debt.
A Local Ocean employee told NewsChannel 13 on Thursday that the company is not closed and that his pay check is being cashed. But, he added, fish shipments did not go out this week or last and, the employee explained, his boss told him that company management would have more information on Monday.
The Greenport Town Supervisor and Hudson Mayor visited the site Thursday afternoon and, according to them, 19 employees were let go--leaving behind only two workers--and Local Ocean is behind in mortgage, tax and utility payments.
In 2009, when Local Ocean took over and old warehouse on Route 9 and filled it with high tech and environmentally friendly fiberglass, saltwater pools.
The tanks house several species of tropical fish that are sold to markets and restaurants around the country.
"Live stuff in here. There is a significant impact both environmentally and a hazardous waste issue...we want to help any way we can," said Greenport Supervisor John Porreca Sr. outside the desolate building Thursday afternoon.
NewsChannel 13 was unable to reach management members Thursday and according to Porreca, local elected leaders and county business leaders aren't getting calls back either.
"Our concern is. right now, the fish. They are alive but if the company does foreclose and go bankrupt, what's going to happen to the live fish in this town," worries Porreca.
Both the employee who spoke with NewsChannel 13 Thursday and Porreca claim the fish are being cared for properly--fed, aerated and their tanks kept clean.
There were previous signs of economic problems. Last year Local Ocean was late on a Columbia County IDA loan and that loan had since been pulled.