Factory boost adds value to fish

Minister MacTiernan at Albany Seafoods

Wild-caught south coast fish once sold as bait are making it onto retail shelves as gourmet food with the help of strategic investment through the GSDC. Albany Seafoods is building a range of products including local sardines, herring and salmon that justifies expanding the firm’s factory with a view to exporting the goods.

Early development of the product was assisted by a $175,000 grant through the State Government’s Value Add Agribusiness Investment Attraction Fund that enabled the company to install machinery to fillet, crumb and vacuum pack locally-caught sardines, which it had formerly processed to sell as mulies for bait. Sardine fillets are now available in retail outlets, along with the company’s marinated sardines, which have caught the attention of celebrity chefs across the country.

Following the product development, the company successfully applied through the GSDC for a $75,000 Regional Economic Development (RED) grant to support a factory expansion with processing facilities and cold storage meeting export standards.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Member for Albany Rebecca Stephens visited the factory in April to inspect the expansion and learn about the products’ potential to add value to primary produce.

Minister MacTiernan said Western Australia currently transformed or added value to 16 to 20 per cent of its agricultural produce, and could reasonably aspire to boost that to 25 per cent or more.

Albany Seafood director Bryn Westerberg said the product development gave the company more pride in its product and provided a substantial jobs boost. He said Albany Seafoods could expect to export products by the next fishing season in early 2022.

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