Sustainable Blue fish farm investing $9 million to double production of Atlantic salmon
ACOA will provide $1 million, with the rest coming from investors and shareholders. The company will provide about 10 per cent of the North American supply of premium Atlantic salmon when the expansion is complete.
A Hants County fish farm that produces premium-grade Atlantic salmon is investing $9 million in an expansion that will more than double its production capacity.
Sustainable Blue's expansion will see it increase production to 500 metric tonnes of fish from 200 metric tonnes.
The funding is primarily from its investors and shareholders, but includes a $1-million repayable investment from ACOA.
Kings-Hants MP Scott Brison announced the funding at the land-based facility in Centre Burlington on Friday.
“These are investments in innovation, and clean growth, and sustainable industries,” he said during a tour of the facility. “Sustainable food production is an area where Canada has huge opportunities, and Nova Scotia is well-positioned to play a major role in that, from oceans to agriculture and sustainable aquaculture. We have it all here.”
He said Sustainable Blue has developed proprietary technology “that is exportable, and will lead to to growth and jobs and prosperity for places like rural Hants County and all of Atlantic Canada.”
When the expansion is complete, the company will put 133,000 fish a year to market, Sustainable Blue CEO Kirk Havercroft said.
The North American market for farmed Atlantic salmon was 360,000 tonnes in 2016. The demand was higher, but production problems around the world meant demands couldn't be met, he said.
But the size of the market for premium Atlantic salmon, which includes land-based and organic fish like his company produces, is only around 40,000 tonnes. The current supply is only about 5,000 tonnes, so when the expansion is complete Sustainable Blue will produce about 10 per cent of that supply.
“It's a huge opportunity as we see it,” Havercroft said while standing beside a tank of salmon that were jumping at feed cast into the water.
He expects to hire four new employees on top of the seven already working at the facility, but there will be spinoff jobs in construction, processing and transportation.
Because the company has its own proprietary equipment, the hope is that groups of investors around North America will want to invest in aquaculture and build their own Sustainable Blue production units across North America, operating under licence, Havercroft said.
"That's the vision, that's how we see this project growing," he said. "All the revenue that will be earned off that licensing will come back here to Nova Scotia."