Swanger Cove hatchery up and running
After six years of planning, Cooke Aquaculture’s salmon hatchery in Swanger Cove, St. Alban’s, is now in operation.
The $7.5-million, 38,000-square-foot facility uses recirculation technology, which means 99.3 per cent of the water gets reused. The hatchery’s filtration system clears solids and gases from the water before it gets pumped back into the tanks.
Juvenile Atlantic salmon started arriving at the hatchery this fall, transported from the Daniel’s Harbour hatchery, which incubates and hatches eggs before sending fish on to St. Alban’s.
The hatchery has 16 fish tanks but only 10 are operational so far. They contain 1.5 million, 20- to 30-gram Atlantic salmon, with about 100,000 fish in each tank.
As they grow they some will be moved into the other tanks. The hatchery will be able to produce up to 3 million 100-gram smolts per year.
The fish there now will be grown until June 2012, when they will be big enough to be sent to ocean farms.
Hatchery manager Jim Murphy said “They are 100-120 grams when they go out to the cages.
“They are out the bay for around 18-24 months, giving them chance to grow to a nice size and then ready for market.”
The hatchery’s computer system monitors the site so staff can see what’s going on with the fish and the water – they can pinpoint if the fish enough oxygen, the amount per tank, and ensure the pumps are working properly. They can also change the amount of salt in the water.
Mr. Murphy said “This is truly a tremendous tool to have and helps us to see what’s always going on with the fish at all times.”
Ten people work at the hatchery, but more will be hired as the need arises.
Chuck Brown, a spokesman for Cooke Aquaculture, said the company is proud of the hatchery.
“This hatchery represents the company’s long-term commitment to the Coast of Bays.”
Cooke Aquaculture is one of the top five salmon companies in the world, with more than 2,500 employees in Atlantic Canada, Maine, Chile and Spain.