The expansion of Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.’s Gold River Hatchery project in Canada, known as the RAS 34 Project, is nearing completion, and in mid-February, the project team celebrated reaching the first of three milestones signaling the end of the project is near.
“We are excited to share that the tanks within the new hatchery facility are being filled with water. This is a huge achievement and allows the focus to shift from overall construction to what we do best at Grieg, which is to raise beautiful, healthy salmon for Canadians, and provide growing global demand for nutritious, sustainable, protein. In total, the project represents an investment of over $25 million and the creation of almost 60 full-time site positions at the peak of construction. The new facility will effectively double our smolt capacity at our hatchery and allow us to start to explore keeping our fish in the hatchery for longer which will reduce the time required in the ocean, known as post-smolt farming. This is part of our overall company goal of transitioning more of our production onto land,” said Rocky Boschman, managing director for Grieg Seafood BC.
“With our constantly evolving research and science into new and better fish culture processes, we now know that there are benefits to both the wild and farmed populations if we allow our fish to grow larger than the traditional 100-gram size at which we have been generally transferring smolts to our ocean farms. These benefits include the reduced time spent in the ocean, which minimizes the overall period during which wild and farmed salmon can interact. It also has direct benefits for the farmed salmon, by allowing the fish to grow larger on land and transferring them at a larger size to our ocean farms, the fish are better able to handle the transition from fresh to saltwater, and are overall healthier as they are better able to resist the natural bacteria and pathogens found in the ocean environment.”
Adding water to the six tanks housed within the RAS 34 building means that the hatchery can now begin to work with the system to support the growth of up to four million smolts. “The new facility will become the hub of our hatchery operations once completed later this year. The building itself will be able to support the growth and development of up to four million smolts, but we will also be locating all of the sorting, grading, and vaccination equipment in various rooms within the new facility,” said Grieg freshwater director, Scott Peterson.