Councillor Ron Paulson (far left) welcomes the crew from Independent Seafoods Canada Corporation to Port Alberni during a plaque presentation on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Second fish processing vessel welcomed to Port Alberni

Larger freezer trawler has the ability to process fish meal

A second freezer trawler arrived in Port Alberni earlier this week to make its home in the Alberni Inlet.

Independent Seafoods Canada Corporation (ISCC) has moored the Raw Spirit at Port Alberni Terminals since 2013. Now, the company is adding a second fish processing vessel, the Sunderoey, to its Port Alberni fleet.

Councillor Ron Paulson, representing the City of Port Alberni, and Port Alberni Port Authority (PAPA) director of operations Mike Carter presented ISCC with a commemorative plaque on Tuesday, May 5 to welcome the Sunderoey to Port Alberni after a long voyage from Denmark.

READ MORE: New life set to be breathed into Alberni waterfront

READ MORE: Second seafood freezer trawler will soon call Port Alberni home

Independent Seafoods’ president Kelly Andersen said on Tuesday that he was originally drawn to Port Alberni by its labour force and access to the fishing grounds off the west coast.

“There are good facilities here,” Andersen added. “Things were going well, so we decided we’ll keep going. Since then, we’ve had our challenges with COVID, but we had enough confidence to keep it going.”

The Sunderoey is larger than the Raw Spirit, at 56 metres long by 14 metres wide, and can bring in about 500 metric tons of fish compared to Raw Spirit’s 340 metric tons. But the biggest difference, said Andersen, is the ability to process fish meal from the leftover waste instead of throwing it overboard. Bones and entrails are cooked down into a powder that can then be sold for use in aquaculture and other industries.

The new ship has brought about 50 jobs to the area, Andersen said. Between both the Sunderoey and Raw Spirit, ISCC employs around 130 people, both on the ship and shoreside.

“We process [fish] on the ship, which adds jobs and employment, but we also add value to the product,” Andersen explained. “That’s why the ships have to be bigger, because you need room to do this.”

Andersen said he is hoping the Sunderoey will be fishing by next month.

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