“We expect to reach our goal in production this year and we opened a new facility in Pubnico to thaw frozen fish and preprocess for our plant here in Tusket,” he said.
Full production was estimated earlier at 1,000 to 1,200 metric tons a month. The facility processes fish parts that are normally considered waste in North America and dries the heads and racks (backbones remaining after filleting) of cod, haddock, pollock and hake.
The product is packed into 30-kilo burlap bags and shipped to Nigeria from Halifax by container. Primary export markets in the southwest African region include Lagos, Anambra, and Abia states, with an estimated population of 28 million. Dried fish is used in traditional African recipes by being boiled to obtain the protein then having meat, vegetables and spices added to make a thick soup/stew.
“The demand for our product in Africa has been increasing so we have not been able to concentrate on the ethnic market in the states, although we know that there is a market for our product there,” said Stefánsson.
He says the local supply of fish has been as expected in the beginning, and that the company has good suppliers. It is slowly increasing the quantity locally, but also imports raw material from the U.S., Norway, the U.K. and Russia, to top up the local supply. The company employs 41 full-time, year-round, and expects to grow to 50 by year’s end.
The business, which represents a $4-million investment for the company, received a $1.4-million term loan through NS Business Inc, to help upgrade facilities and equipment in 2010 and a five-year payroll rebate of $390,000 from NSBI.
The facility is located in a Mood Road complex that was formerly operated by SIF Canada Ltd.