Fire delays opening of Marine Harvest's salmon smoking plant in Maine

Published on
January 3, 2018

A fire at a processing plant under construction in Belfast, Maine, will delay the opening of the Marine Harvest-owned Ducktrap River of Maine facility.

The salmon smoking and processing plant, in which Marine Harvest has invested more than USD 5 million (EUR 4.15 million), which was scheduled to become operational by mid-April or early May, will now likely open in June 2018.

The fire, which caused damage estimated at less than USD 50,000 (EUR 41,502), broke out the morning of 28 December. The cause was likely sparks on insulation from welding the exterior of the building, Don Cynewski, general manager of Ducktrap River, told SeafoodSource.

“Fortunately, the warehouse area that we are doing the expansion in didn’t take as much of the damage, so we will be able to repair the fire damage as we complete the expansion,” Cynewski said. “Smoke is a big issue, but it is mainly in the office section of the building.”

The 50,000-square-foot facility, which is currently empty, includes around 15,000 square feet of office space.

In 2013, Ducktrap River also underwent a USD 4 million (EUR 3.3 million) expansion, which doubled the size of its smoking and processing facility at the time.

The new expansion is necessary to keep up with demand for Ducktrap’s smoked salmon from retail and foodservice customers in the United States, according to Cynewski. 

“Marine Harvest feels strongly about the U.S. market in general, and this is their smokehouse in the U.S.,” he said. “The European market is fairly saturated.”

Ducktrap River has realized growth of more than 15 percent annually for the past six years, thanks to growing demand for smoked salmon. 

“We are not necessarily stealing business; everyone in the industry is growing,” Cynewski said.

(Photo by Bangor Daily News)

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