Keith Hutchings, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, attended opening celebrations at the facility, and announced C$300,000 for additional harvesting and processing enhancements through the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Programme.
“The Provincial Government’s agreement with Ocean Choice International reflects our commitment to maximising economic benefits from our fish resources, and ensuring the well-being of residents in rural areas. Today’s opening is an important step toward achieving these goals, and I am pleased to announce C$300,000 from the Provincial Government to assist with integrating innovative harvesting and processing technology to support the long-term success of this facility,” said Mr Hutchings.
The funding provided by the Provincial Government will support the integration of three separate technological innovations: new harvesting technology that has been proven to achieve greater catch rates and minimise seabed contact; faster and more energy efficient equipment for thawing seafood during processing, and x-ray technology that would improve the yield of filleted product.
“Careful planning, negotiation, and investments by this government have created economic gains for the people of the Burin Peninsula, who have had a long-standing connection to the groundfish industry in this province. This is a great day for the region, and an achievement that we will build on in the coming years,” said Darin King, Minister of Justice and MHA for Grand Bank.
In addition to opening the Fortune processing facility, Ocean Choice International announced it would expand its operations in the area. The company has leased a vessel, the Ocean Breeze, to harvest cod that will create additional activity in the plant.
“Ocean Choice International is very proud of our investment in our operations in Fortune, which far exceeded the C$1 million committed in our original agreement with the Provincial Government, and will generate tremendous economic activity in the area for years to come. We appreciate the Provincial Government’s assistance with our efforts to make groundfish harvesting and processing viable in the province, and look forward to bringing high quality yellowtail and cod products to markets around the world,” said Martin Sullivan, President and CEO, Ocean Choice International.
Through sound fiscal management and responsible decisions, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is strengthening the business environment, encouraging the development of innovative industries, and building a vibrant economy.