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Tseshaht, Hub City Fisheries to reopen Port Fish ice plant
The Tseshaht First Nation and Hub City Fisheries are finalizing a lease to reopen the Port Fish ice plant on Harbour Road in Port Alberni.
“We’ve been working towards developing partnerships with a fish processing company. Hub City has been a good fit for the last two years,” says Andrew Olson, fisheries manager and biologist for the Tseshaht.
Hub City Fisheries is a value-added seafood processor based in Nanaimo.
Port Fish ceased operation as a fish processing plant in March 2011. The port authority put out a request for proposals for the fish processing and ice-making plant in January 2013.
Both partners have made a “substantial” financial commitment to get the plant up and running, said Olson, declining to offer details of that commitment.
“We’re hoping to have the ice plant operational this week. We would potentially start freezing fish and storing them this summer,” he added.
Crews have been in the facility already fixing the ice plant. “It needed a significant amount of work,” including ripping out interior walls, putting in new insulation and new fiberglass walls and floor.
“We wanted to make it right to begin with. We took all the things that were wrong and remedied those with upgrades.”
More work will have to be done to get the rest of the facility up to Canada Food Inspection Agency standards, he added.
Olson said the partnership is exciting for the Tseshaht. “It’s something they’ve wanted for a long time, to have more involvement and opportunity for members and provide opportunities for other commercial fishermen in the community.”