Yellow Perch Producer Breaks Ground on Processing Facility
Bell Aquaculture yesterday broke ground on its new corporate headquarters and a 27,000-square-foot indoor yellow perch processing facility in Redkey, Ind.
Construction should be completed by year's end, and the complex will employ about 70 workers at full capacity.
In March, Bell Aquaculture opened the nation's largest yellow perch (Perca flavescens) farm in Albany, Ind. But it currently has an annual production capacity of less than 100,000 pounds of fish. The new processing facility will be able to handle more than 9 million pounds annually.
The company's Bell Perch™ product is expected to be available for foodservice customers early next year.
"The greatest difficulty for restaurants has been the availability of yellow perch out of Lake Michigan and Lake Erie - the two predominant lakes for the supply of wild-caught yellow perch," said Michael Miller, president and COO of Bell Aquaculture, during a radio interview earlier this year. "The restaurants that were typically serving customers who enjoy the taste of yellow perch just cannot get the supply.
"The yellow perch that we're raising, the Bell Perch™, is a higher quality product from the standpoint that there is no real possibility of contaminants entering into their food chain during their growth," he added. "We have absolute control over our water supply. Since they are raised in-house there is no opportunity for bird predation, pesticides or herbicides to get into the flesh of the fish."