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Federal government invests in Centre Burlington sustainable fish farm expansion


CENTRE BURLINGTON, N.S. — 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.

Kings Hants MP Scott Brison announced $1 million in funding through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency's Business Development Fund to Sustainable Fish Farming Ltd. in Centre Burlington on April 21.

“This will help the company in the construction of a 300 metric tonne saltwater grow-out facility for farming Atlantic salmon year-round, bringing the company's total capacity to 500 metric tonnes per year,” said Brison at the press conference.

He 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 in an interview. “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 CEO of Sustainable Fish Farming Ltd. in Centre Burlington, addressed the crowd gathered for a federal funding announcement April 21. The business announced a sizeable expansion that will help the company further contribute to clean growth in the aquaculture sector.

Kirk Havercroft, the CEO of Sustainable Fish Farming Ltd., said the expansion, which carries a $9 million price tag, will increase their production to 500 metric tonnes, up from 300 metric tonnes.

It will also increase their labour force to 11 full-time employees, up from seven. Havercroft said that doesn't take into account the other economic spin offs due to the construction at the site, additional processing and transporting of the product.

“We always were all year round, it's just now we'll have more product or the capability of more product,” explained Havercroft, noting they will be able to better stagger when the fish will be available for market.

About 40,000 tonnes of land-grown saltwater salmon is consumed annually in North America. It's estimated that 360,000 metric tonnes was consumed worldwide in 2016.

Havercroft said experts believe that number was lower than what the demand actually was due to a lack of supply.

“There were problems in Chile producing salmon. There were other problems in the European countries that produce it – so Norway and Denmark,” said Havercroft of the 2016 season.

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.

“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 their 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 in an interview. “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.

Kings Hants MP Scott Brison said immigrants, like Kirk Havercroft, the CEO of Sustainable Fish Farming Ltd., are helping to invest in the region – and that's something the federal government is keen on supporting and encouraging more of.

“We're seeing the synergies develop between our local world-class wine industry, microbrewery, cutting edge technology around sustainable seafood and fish and agriculture. It's all happening here.”

David Roberts, the production director at Sustainable Fish Farming Ltd., explained how the land-based fish farm operates – and how it will be expanding in the near future.

 

Did you know?

Sustainable Blue products are served at several Nova Scotian restaurants, including at the Flying Apron Inn and Cookery in Summerville, Le Caveau in Wolfville, and Chive Restaurant in Halifax.

 

Kirk Havercroft, the CEO of Sustainable Fish Farming Ltd. in Centre Burlington, introduces an employee to Kings Hants MP Scott Brison as he prepared to take a tour of the facility.

Go online

For more information about Sustainable Fish Farming Ltd., visit: http://sustainableblue.com.

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