Business

Farm-raised salmon processing plant slated for South Surrey

Marine Harvest Canada’s salmon-processing plant in Port Hardy is able to operate year-round. - Marine Harvest photo
Marine Harvest Canada’s salmon-processing plant in Port Hardy is able to operate year-round.
— image credit: Marine Harvest photo

Marine Harvest, one of the world’s largest farm-raised salmon companies, will open a fish-processing plant in South Surrey.

Construction of the facility, which will be located inside the Sure Cold Building (5355 152 St.), started on Tuesday.

Stephen Hall, director of processing for Marine Harvest Canada, said in an email that the initial processing capacity in the first year will be 8,000 fish per day, or 1,860,000 fish (12,000 tonnes) per year.

“We expect to double capacity in our second year of operation.”

Processing includes filleting, portioning, packaging and freezing. Salmon trimmings are treated as fresh and kept in cold storage. The trimmings are picked up daily by a local rendering contractor.

“Strict cleaning protocols and storage will ensure that it is an odourless process,” Hall writes.

Marine Harvest Canada’s other primary processing plants are located in Port Hardy and Klemtu.

The salmon are raised on farms on and around northern Vancouver Island.

“It takes three years to grow a salmon to market size and is done so within the protection of land-based and ocean-based farms,” Hall said.

Surrey was selected, Hall added, because it’s “ideally located” for material logistics and accessibility to import markets in Canada and the U.S.

“Salmon is a top seafood choice in grocery stores in Canada and the U.S., and is British Columbia’s largest agricultural export. Marine Harvest Canada produces one-half of the province’s supply of fresh, farm-raised salmon,” Hall said.

Construction of the facility is slated for completion mid-June 2017. The plant will hire 35-40 employees the first year, moving to 75 employees the second year.

The hiring process is expected to begin in early May.

Marine Harvest, headquartered in Norway, has numerous operations around the world, including in Scotland, Faroe Islands, Ireland, Norway and Chile. The company produces about 25 per cent of the world’s farmed salmon and trout.

In a news release, B.C. Agricultural Minister Norm Letnick said he’s “proud to welcome Marine Harvest’s announcement on their new investment and new jobs in Surrey.”

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