The company is also experiencing growth in its feed sector, with the Truro feed mill producing thousands of tonnes of fish feed every year, reports ChronicleHerald.
Every week, 320 tonnes of salmon feed come to Digby from the Truro feed mill, and this is expected to double in the next few years.
Cooke currently uses fish byproducts from wild fish industries in its feed, Chuck Brown, communications manager with Cooke Aquaculture, told the newspaper.
“Our reliance of fish ingredients has actually gone down quite a lot in the last 10 years. We’ve been able to reduce the amount of fish that goes into our feed by about 70 per cent. We still need those fish ingredients because that’s what give our salmon the omega-3 content that’s so valued by consumers, but we are finding suitable replacements for the fish ingredients.”
Cooke uses different animal proteins, like poultry byproducts and even seaweed, in feeding trials.
The company is also planning to open its the Shelburne processing plant in 2015.
“People are anxious to see a site chosen, to see construction happening. We’re not at that point yet, but there’s certainly a lot of work going on,” Mr Brown said.
More than 300 people are expected to eventually work at the Shelburne processing plant, he said.
Also in the works is the Digby Neck hatchery, being build at Mink Cove. The facility will be a land-based recirculating aquaculture system and brood stock fish will come from a flagship hatchery near St. Stephen, N.B.
The Mink Cove hatchery should be up and running in 2014, Mr Brown said, and will likely employ a dozen or more staff.