Northern Harvest Sea Farms is expected to increase the company’s annual production of Atlantic salmon from 12,000 to 16,000 tonnes and increase employment from 145 to 180 jobs thanks in part to a provincial government investment.
The province announced an infusion of $8.15 million through the Provincial Government’s Aquaculture Capital Equity Investment Program toward a $17.6 million expansion during a press conference this morning.
“Our economic impacts study, released in January of this year, clearly indicates the increasingly important role aquaculture is having on our province’s economy with respect to GDP contribution, employment and income,” said Vaughn Granter, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. “The aquaculture industry is helping to grow and diversify rural economies through direct and indirect jobs, and benefits to businesses.”
The funding will go towards capital asset investments in grow-out technology including automatic feeding systems, nets, cages, underwater lighting, mooring and service vessels, a government press release stated. These investments will increase the company’s production of Atlantic salmon, which they intend to process at the Harbour Breton and St. Alban’s plants.
“Aquaculture has transformed the fortunes of many rural communities in our province. There is visible new economic activity created by salmon operations particularly along the Coast of Bays,” said Fortune Bay-Cape LaHune MHA Tracey Perry. “The increased production of Atlantic salmon from this investment will lead to the reopening of the fish plant in Harbour Breton while maintaining employment at the plant in St. Alban’s, so today’s announcement is wonderful news for the entire region.”
Budget 2015 provides $2.8 million toward the project. This is in addition to $2.4 million which was provided to the company in late March. The remaining funding will be provided over the next two fiscal years.
Provincial government investment will be in the form of an equity position in the company through preferred shares which will receive annual dividends until the project is complete and the Provincial Government investment is repaid. Repayment will take place over seven years beginning once the project is completed.
“This partnership with the Provincial Government will help us to further grow our operations in the Coast of Bays region with a continued focus on environmental sustainability and quality best practice,” said Larry Ingalls, President, Northern Harvest Sea Farms.