Ocean Choice Invests in New Yellowtail Flounder Automation at its Fortune Plant
August 18, 2021
Supporting Stable Employment and New Global Retail Market Opportunities
For Immediate Release, St. John’s, NL – Wednesday, August 18, 2021: Ocean Choice is pleased to announce investment in new automated technology at its processing facility in Fortune, Newfoundland and Labrador. The investment includes the addition of a water jet cutting system as well as skinning and deboning technology that will improve productivity and efficiency at the plant. The new technology will also open new retail opportunities for Ocean Choice, as the Company will be able to meet the expectations and specifications of retailers.
“Ocean Choice is committed to the future of the fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador, in particular to the hundreds of rural communities and thousands of people throughout the province who rely on the fishery for their livelihoods,” said Blaine Sullivan, President, Ocean Choice. “We are dedicated to our operations in Newfoundland and Labrador and are always seeking ways in which we can improve our operations through the introduction of new technologies that support local employment and global market access for Newfoundland and Labrador’s high quality seafood. The new yellowtail flounder automation system at our Fortune facility will allow us to do just that.”
The project will help sustain more than 75 jobs at Ocean Choice’s Fortune processing plant and will also significantly extend the operating season for those employed at the plant. Future adaptation of the technology may provide expanded opportunities for the processing of other groundfish species, something that could lead to near year-round operation in Fortune.
“Ocean Choice is committed to supporting a balanced fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador – a fishery in which all sectors thrive,” said Martin Sullivan, CEO, Ocean Choice. “This project will see significant volumes of yellowtail flounder – that is sustainability harvested by the hundreds of crew members employed on our offshore groundfish vessels – processed at our inshore processing facility in Fortune. The investment in this automation at our Fortune facility is a great example of a balanced fishery, in which both the inshore and offshore sectors come together to add value and support more year-round employment opportunities.”
Investing in technology to meet and respond to global demand is imperative for Newfoundland and Labrador to maintain competitive in the global seafood industry. The new technology being introduced at the Company’s Fortune facility will be used to do just that. It will produce market-ready yellowtail flounder skin-on or skinless fillet portions for distribution to retail markets in North America and Europe in sizes and formats that meet the needs of the market.
The project is a joint investment between Ocean Choice and the Atlantic Fisheries Fund, with Ocean Choice contributing $1,822,576 and AFF contributing the same amount in the form of a repayable loan.
Ocean Choice’s Fortune facility processes a range of groundfish, including redfish and yellowtail flounder from both the inshore and offshore, employing over 75 people from Fortune and surrounding communities.More about Ocean Choice International