Funding for fish farm
The federal government is investing in the expansion of a cutting-edge Atlantic salmon land-based fish farm in Hants County.
Kings-Hants MP Scott Brison visited Sustainable Fish Farming Ltd. in Centre Burlington on April 21 to announce a $1 million repayable loan.
“Producing premium quality, drug-free fish sustainably on land here in Burlington, Hants County, is something we should be tremendously proud of,” said Brison, who made the funding announcement on behalf of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Business Development Fund.
Brison said investing in the company’s future not only bodes well for the plant, but Hants County, the province, and beyond.
“Food and 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,” said Brison.
“The kinds of investments that we want to make are the ones that build on these natural advantages and take them to a different level.”
Kirk Havercroft, the chief executive officer of Sustainable Fish Farming Ltd., said the $9 million expansion will increase their production to 500 metric tonnes, up from 300 metric tonnes.
It will also increase the labour force to 11 full-time employees, up from seven. Havercroft said that doesn’t take into account the other economic spinoffs due to construction at the site, additional processing and transporting of the product.
“We always were all-yearround, it’s just now we’ll have more product or the capability of more product,” explained Havercroft, noting the company will be able to better stagger when fish will be available for market.
About 40,000 tonnes of landgrown saltwater salmon is consumed annually in North America. It’s estimated that 360,000 metric tonnes was consumed worldwide in 2016.
Havercroft says experts believe that number is lower than what the demand actually is due to a lack of supply.
“There were problems in Chile producing salmon (in 2016). There were other problems in the European countries that produce it – so Norway and Denmark,” said Havercroft.
“The only way of knowing what the total consumption is is when we get a year when there is none of those problems, and that’ll give us an opportunity to see what the total demand really is.”
Havercroft said the expansion will help to make the company’s line of Sustainable Blue products more competitive in the local and international markets.
Brison, who toured the existing facility following the announcement, praised the company for being innovative and investing in the region.
“Jeremy Lee (president) and Kirk Havercroft — both immigrants — chose Nova Scotia to build their dream of sustainable aquaculture here,” said Brison. “I think it checks off all the boxes in terms of our government’s Atlantic growth strategy — innovation, immigration, investment and trade, and clean growth — so this is exactly the kind of investment we want to do more of.”
Brison said he sees an exciting future for the company, and the surrounding communities.
“We’re seeing the synergies develop between our local worldclass wine industry, microbrewery, cutting edge technology around sustainable seafood and fish and agriculture. It’s all happening here.”
Kings Hants MP Scott Brison and Kirk Havercroft, the CEO of Sustainable Fish Farming Ltd. in Centre Burlington, discuss the operation while tours of the site were conducted April 21.