November 27th 2015 AYLMER, Ontario
– The city of tobacco built near the shore of one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, will soon be home to an unlikely crop – salt water shrimp.
Planet shrimp is a new agro-business in the region, that rose from the rubble of the faltering tobacco industry. The president of the company promises that it will soon become one of the largest corporate operations of shrimp in the world with an initial harvest of about 225,000 kg per year.
“We hope to have a nice, sustainable, shrimp right on your tables” by June next year, said President Marvyn Budd.
The first phase of the project cost “several million” dollars, and the plan is to invest over $ 40 million over time until the aquatic farm is fully developed, he said.
If a former tobacco factory seems a strange place to grow a series of huge tanks of saltwater shrimp, Budd said the adjustment has become a logical choice as he conducted research for a site plan to produce prawns within national origin.
The space is there: in its heyday in the 1960s, Imperial Tobacco factory processed millions of tons of leaves under eight hectares of roof.
“It has been a great partnership. I could not be happier,” said Budd, a business developer.
The novelty of the growth of shrimp, inside, and away from the ocean, was not lost on the participants of the announcements.
Aylmer Mayor Greg Currie said when he mentioned the announcement to his 83-year-old father of the island Prince Edward Island, “he said,” You better talk to your mother because there is something wrong with your head. “I’m very excited for. . . to tell him what will happen to my community, to our community. ”
Minister of Agriculture of Ontario Jeff Leal was on hand to announce a provincial investment of $ 237,000.
“This is a wonderful, wonderful project for this community… This is the kind of project that will make Ontario grow”.
The money will be used to build a closed loop, bio-secure environment that the company promises will be “virtually eliminate” the possibility of the disease from entering the installation. The water will be recirculated through filters every 90 minutes, Budd said.
The Canadian market for shrimp is growing, thanks in part to a growing Asian population. But Budd said drivers also include a demand for locally produced foods raised on a diet of local ingredients. “I think that demographic change is (clients) who want a healthy product.”
Mark Tytel, director of marketing for export Packers Co., said his company imports more than two million tons each year in Canada, all frozen after leaving the outer ground basins in Southeast Asia.
“We were never able to bring fresh shrimp. We just could not.”
This shrimp farm – Company Tytel is an investor in the plant and will also be the distributor of shrimp – allow Canadians to enjoy fresh local shrimp for the first time.
The goal is to make sure that it is certified high and sustainable harvested.
“At the end of the day, it will produce a better, cleaner shrimp,” said Tytel.
Dave Mennill, Mayor of Township of Malahide, proclaimed “a great day” for food innovation and employment in the region. He said he is very pleased that the sprawling installation is nearly filled with tenants again. “It was a huge shock when Imperial Tobacco was out of Aylmer.”
The grant was one of six grants to local food innovation announced recently for this area.