Canada’s Placentia Bay set for major aquaculture project
The Newfoundland and Labrador government has reached an agreement with a company called Grieg Newfoundland AS that could see the province rival British Columbia in aquaculture production.
Municipal and intergovernmental affairs minister Keith Hutchings announced Monday in Marystown that Grieg will invest some $251-million in a project that will more than double aquaculture in the province and create roughly 325 direct jobs.
He said the province will commit up to $45 million to acquire an equity position in the company.
“This MOU sets the stage to make Newfoundland and Labrador the largest aquaculture producer in eastern Canada. We will rival the output of British Columbia, which currently leads among the Canadian provinces,” said Hutchings.
“The project proposed by Grieg will lead to significant new employment and business opportunities for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, particularly in the Burin Peninsula and Placentia Bay regions,” he added.
Grieg’s plans include a new $75-million state-of-the-art hatchery/nursery facility in Marystown that will produce seven million smolts annually to stock 11 sea cage sites for the subsequent grow out and harvest of 33,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon.
Four bay management areas will be developed along the western side of Placentia Bay and near Long Harbour.
According to a news release, the hatchery/nursery will be the largest in Canada and one of the largest in the world utilizing the latest technology. Grow-out operations will include new cage and netting system technology, automated feed systems, well boats and value added processing.
“This project will take our aquaculture industry to a whole new level and make us a major global player,” said fisheries and aquaculture minister Vaughn Granter.
Grieg Newfoundland AS is part of the Grieg Group of companies in Bergen, Norway, which has been involved in salmon farming for 23 years in Norway, Scotland and British Columbia. Construction of the hatchery is scheduled to be completed by 2017, at which time construction of the grow-out sites will also begin.
The company plans to reach peak production by 2023, with a requirement for secondary processing, including a minimum of “75% beyond dressed head-on.” All processing must take place in the province, the release stated.
Grieg Group spokesman Per Grieg Jr., described the potential for salmon farming in Newfoundland and Labrador as huge, and said the company will use modern sustainable farming methods. “We believe the province can be developed into a substantial producer of fresh salmon products for the whole North American market,” he said.
Ocean Choice International, one of the province’s largest seafood processing companies, is a partner in the project, said Grieg.
Government’s investment is part of a 20-year agreement, in the form of an equity position in the company through preferred shares, with the investment expected to be repaid by 2035.
A formal agreement is expected to be reached by Jan. 31, said Hutchings.