Nfld. & Labrador

Lean and green fish processing production unit will be fully made in Bay Bulls

A Bay Bulls-based marine fabrication company is making a splash in the sea harvesting industry with its newly designed fish processing production unit, built in the province.

'We can definitely compete with anyone in the world'

Operations Manager Dennis Crane of C & W Industrial Fabrication and Marine Limited opened the doors to his shop on Thursday for the announcement of his company's newest innovation for marine harvesting. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

A Bay Bulls-based marine fabrication company is making a splash in the sea-harvesting industry with its newly designed fish processing production unit, which will be built in the province. 

The production line will sit onboard Ocean Choice International's new Arctic class vessel, and used to process groundfish such as cod, redfish, greenland halibut and more while at sea.

"We've got a lot of good equipment here, and a lot of good employees. We can definitely compete with anyone in the world," said Dennis Crane, operations manager for C&W Industrial Fabrication and Marine Equipment.

"Mainly, we might not be the cheapest, but quality is a big thing for us."  

According to government, the Calvert will create approximately 70 new full-time jobs when the vessel is operational.

President of Ocean Choice International Blaine Sullivan and Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O'Regan had the opportunity to tour the facility where the new production line for groundfish had been designed and constructed in Bay Bulls. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

The Government of Canada is providing a repayable contribution of $3.5 million for the project. OCI is matching the investment with their own $3.5 million.  

C&W Industrial began building the fish processing unit roughly six months ago, with 45 employees tackling the job.

From the raw metal to a completed unit, everything has been designed and built in C&W's facility in Bay Bulls.

Right now, the unit sits at 95 per cent completion. Crane said it should be completely finished in three to four weeks. 

From there the production line will be sent to Turkey, where the OCI vessel itself is currently under construction.

Green ship

The new vessel and subsequent fish processing line will both incorporate green technology to maximize the harvest numbers and quality of the product. 

According to a government news release, the technology being incorporated into the ship is expected to lead to a clean class, or green ship, designation, which will be a first for a Canadian groundfish vessel.

The new ship means addressing the concerns of an aging fleet while also getting exactly the vessel they want, said Blaine Sullivan.

"This time we wanted to build it from the keel up. We actually built the factory first and built the boat around it," said Sullivan, president of Ocean Choice International. 

"It's really interesting when you can take everything and build it just the way you want it, rather than have to compromise. It gives us the opportunity to build the factory the way we want it but we also built the ship as very energy efficient. It's built to green ship designation."

Sullivan said the new technology is an improvement on what has already been done in the marine harvesting industry. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

All fish will now be completely handled onboard the ship, without having to go to a processing plant on land. 

Instead of being frozen, labelled, packaged, loaded, unloaded and shipped, Sullivan said the boat and production line onboard will streamline the process.

"Now it goes into a pan and the next person [who] touches it is in the hold on a fork lift. It gives us greater efficiency and great accuracy. Our own team has worked to design a piece of that and integrate with C&W. We have found and tested our own RFD tags that we can read and tell the us what's in the pan," he said.

"And we've developed the software to tell it to put it in which freezer so it can come out of all sorted to the size of the pallet."

Sullivan said the ship was built with longevity in mind, making sure the vessel will still be valuable to the company in 25 years time.

While similar processes have been used in the past and present, Sullivan said this new design is safer, environmental friendly, more sustainable and efficient. 

"It's really an improvement on what's been done already.".

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Todd O'Brien

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