The Provincial Government has committed $1.5 million to expanding on the aquaculture industry in Harbor Breton. This includes refurbishing the wharf down there, but also the introduction of some brand new technology at the fish plant.

The new “pre-rigor processing technology” has never been used in NL. It will help the plant produce fish of a higher grade of freshness and quality. A company strangely titled “54417 Newfoundland and Labrador Co. Ltd.” is bringing $3.5 million to this project.

The quality of fresh fish depends on early processing. “Pre-rigor processing” is about preserving the freshness and tenderness of meat. Rigor mortis kicks in fish pretty quickly after they die, affecting the quality of the meat, and keeping them on ice before processing them only delays rigor so long.

“Pre-rigor filleting” betters shelf life, as well as product texture and colour translucency. The extra robustness of fish that has been pre-rigor filleted is also said to reduce the damage to meat caused by downstream processing operations. So pre-rigor filleting will also increase yield of product.

Pre-rigor filleting is said to be better than simply pre-rigor salting, which creates unfavoruable changes in the meat quality.

“Through the support of strategic and innovative initiatives,” says Vaughn Granter, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, “we are helping to ensure our province’s seafood industry continues to be a major economic contributor to the provincial economy particularly in rural regions.”

“Support for new processing technology is in line with our government’s goals of further diversifying the seafood industry, energizing rural economies, and furthering sustainability in the aquaculture sector.”

Salmon from farms in St. Alban’s will be processed at this plant, and the ability to have fish processed in Harbour Breton is critical to the expansion of Northern Harvest Sea Farms — a company that has received $8.15 million from the Provincial Government toward a $17.6 million expansion of its operations and workforce.

“Aquaculture is growing in leaps and bounds in the Coast of Bays,” says Tracey Perry, MHA for Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune. “This announcement is very exciting as we will re-open a third processing plant in the region, ensuring our sustainability for decades to come.”

Overall, this investment will create an increase of approximately $55 million in Provincial Gross Domestic Product, 772 person years of employment, and an additional $30 million in wages, salaries, and benefits over the next 10 years.