From today's Chronicle-Herald: http://thechronicleh...-farm-to-expand
A land-based fish farm in West Advocate is hoping to double its output with a $5.5-million expansion.
Canaqua Seafoods grows halibut, Arctic char and salmon smolt in seawater that comes from wells near the ocean. Founded in 2006, the Cumberland County company now produces about 95 tonnes annually of mostly halibut and some char.
“We entrain the water from the Bay of Fundy through, probably, 700 or 800 feet of gravel and sand,” Paul Merlin, who owns the company, said Friday.
“It comes into our wells and then we pump it into our tanks from there. That way we get a geothermal effect, so we never have super chill. And we also have a bio-secure water supply with no parasites or disease.”
He’s hoping the investment starts paying for itself within 21/2 years.
Canaqua employs 10 people now and Merlin said he’d like to increase that to 23 over the next decade.
“My market is down in the northeastern United States and Upper Canada, mainly,” he said.
“I do some local business, but not a lot. I haven’t really pushed it because it means a lot of door-to-door stuff. Whereas if I ship to a fairly large distributor, they take care of it.”
Merlin is a minority owner of Scotian Halibut, in Clark’s Harbour, which provides Canaqua with juvenile halibut.
“I get them around 10 grams and grow them up to eight to 10 pounds,” he said.
Canaqua’s parent, Merlin Fish Farms Ltd., has put $2.9 million into the expansion.
The province is lending Canaqua $1 million to help with the project. The 10-year loan comes with a 6.5 per cent interest rate, Merlin said. The company also got a $1.2-million grant from the federal government to build the new 32,000-square-foot building that contains eight tanks for growing fish.
The construction was completed last year and the first fish went in two months ago.
“They’re all monitored with alarm systems and the whole works,” Merlin said.
“When you have a few million dollars worth of fish there, you want to be watching them close.”