New fisheries factory to boost Chatham Islands economy
Work is progressing well on the construction of Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd’s brand new facility on the Chatham Islands.
Not only is the construction work providing extra work for locals, it will also benefit the local economy in the long term through greater export capability.
Aotearoa Fisheries Chatham Islands Manager, George Day, says staff are very excited about having a more efficient and safer place to work in November, when the new facility is expected to be finished.
In the meantime they’re not out of pocket as they have been re-deployed at two other processing plants.
“The new facility has been designed with the future in mind, with lower maintenance materials, and increased capacity on a smaller foot print,” says George.
“Most importantly, we’ll be able to promote the abundance of Chatham Island seafood like blue cod, lobster, pāua and other wetfish to high-end global markets.”
This is Aotearoa Fisheries Limited’s first major investment on the Chatham Islands since the lobster plant 15 years ago. The $3m being spent follows a pledge from Government to invest $52m upgrading the Waitangi Wharf.
Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd is the single largest employer on the main island, and its investment cements its long term commitment to the fishery, community, local Iwi and the economy.
Chatham Islands Mayor, Alfred Preece, is pleased to see that work has begun on demolishing the old facility so the new one can be built.
“I commend the board of AFL for this positive decision to reinvest. It’s the most significant investment in fish processing facilities since the 1960s crayfish boom. There are a number of positive impacts for the island’s economy in terms of secure jobs and the flow on effects of more efficient facilities and added value products,” he says.
Aotearoa Fisheries Limited Chief Executive Officer, Carl Carrington, says that positive impact is what the company strives to have in every community it operates in.
“We see this as a true partnership between Aotearoa Fisheries and the people of the Chatham Islands. It’s a long-standing relationship and one we value, that will also further strengthen our ties with our Iwi shareholders, Hokotehi Moriori Trust and Ngati Mutanga,” he says.
“We’re really pleased we can provide an excellent working environment for our employees, but also contribute more to the local economy, for instance through supporting services like Air Chathams.”