Lax Kw’alaams fish plant to reopen with groundfish processing capabilities

Hoping to fill the void left by the MacMillan fish plant in October, the Lax Kw'alaams fish plant is now focusing on groundfish processing.

The fish processing plant in Port Simpson is having a grand reopening on July 17. A couple million dollars worth of renovations and improvements have been made to the village’s processing plant, which is now hoping to fill the void in groundfish processing capacity left by the closure of the MacMillan fish plant in Prince Rupert.

“We’re not discarding salmon, we’re breaking into groundfish. I think that’s going to be our main focus. That’s going to [more beneficial] for our people,” says the village’s mayor, Gary Reece.

Over $8-million dollars has been spent on upgrading the 40-year-old fish plan, which has been operated by a couple different companies in that time, but is currently under the control of a band-owned initiative, Lax Kw’alaams Fish Plant Ltd.

The plan was to turn the aging plant into a state-of-the-art facility with vastly expanded operations. Until now the plant mainly focused on salmon (and will be expanding those operations as well), but has now set its sights on groundfish such as halibut, sole and flounder as well.

The North Coast lost its only fish plant equipped to process groundfish when the MacMillan plant in Prince Rupert last October. While the decision to focus on groundfish was made before the closure, the Lax Kw’alaams community now stands to benefit from the gap in the market.

The plant is expected to be in operation 10 months out of the year now and eventually provide up to 300 steady jobs for village residents. It’s hoped that this will help reinvigorate the commercial aboriginal fishing industry, which has been waning in recent years.

“There’s not enough salmon. We still have 60 boats that commercial fish out here, but over the last few years it hasn’t been very good . . .that’s the reason we’re getting into groundfish now,” says Reece.

To meet the increased business many changes had to be made the facility and deals had made.

The plant’s refrigeration system and freezers have been improved and their capacity expanded. When the power is hooked up next week the plant will be able to fast-freeze 500,000 lbs of fish a day.

The fish pant company has bought 1.4 million lbs worth of quota for itself this year as well as which currently up in Alaska catching salmon. The plant has will be receiving fish from fishing boats from Metlakatla, Alaska and they have also made arrangements to sell their processed fish straight from the plant to markets in the US.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Teams set for All Native tournament

The 51-team field features 39 automatic qualifiers and 12 qualifying teams

Sports briefs

Here’s what’s going on in Prince Rupert sports this weekend

PART I: How Prince Rupert schools teach Indigenous language to hundreds of students

A multimedia series with videos and photos from children’s Sm’algyax classes on B.C.’s North Coast

Rent continues to rise in Prince Rupert, drops in Terrace

A report from Canadian Mortage and Housing Corporation shows the average rent has risen by $132

UPDATE: Tree planting won’t damage sidewalks on Third Avenue West

City of Prince Rupert dug up holes on downtown sidewalks to make space for trees

Heart of Our City: A fisherman with two loves

Norm Ostrom has owned one boat in his life — Arne A. — for almost 60 years

Carriers wanted for the Northern View

We have open routes for carriers all over Prince Rupert

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

Most Read