Spanish bass, bream producer opens processing facility


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
July 15, 2014

Spain-based bass and bream producer Culmárex Group, part of Canada salmon farming firm Cooke Aquaculture, on Tuesday announced the opening of its processing facility in Águilas.

The facility has a processing capacity of 24,000 metric tons (MT). The EUR 1.5 million (USD 1.1 million) investment expanded the plant by 2,000 square meters, making it one of the largest fish packing plants of sea bass and sea bream in the Mediterranean region.

The company said it was necessary to carry out the expansion after two recent acquisitions of additional Spain fish farming assets. Culmárex, which markets its bass and bream under the “Culmárex” brand, has more than doubled its production from 8,000 MT to 18,000 MT and its value from EUR 45 million (USD 3.3 million) to EUR 100 million (USD 73.5 million) since 2011, “thanks to the strong commitment and investment from the owners of Cooke Aquaculture.”

“In 2011, we believed Culmárex and Cooke Aquaculture shared similar aims and principles and we were right,” said Glenn Cooke, Cooke CEO and Culmárex owner. “I am also pleased that the Canadian government has negotiated free trade with the EU and that the European Union is urging its members to support the growth of aquaculture. I understand that this has led to the development of plans for expansion in various parts of Spain, including Murcia. As CEO of Cooke Aquaculture and owner of Culmárex, I am prepared to invest and make those expansions a reality.”

Later this month, Culmárex will also celebrate the expansion of its hatchery in Palma de Mallorca, Isles Baleares. The EUR 6.5 million (USD 4.8 million) investment has made the hatchery one of the largest in Spain with an annual capacity of more than 45 million juvenile sea cream and sea bass.

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