Thames Centre, Ont. – Sand Plains Aquaculture is converting a former mushroom plant into a state-of-the-art fish farm to supply the Toronto market with tilapia.
Currently all live tilapia consumed in Toronto comes from the U.S. The new plant is a way to cut into this market and it brings new jobs to the area.
The $5-million project, which is nestled in a corn belt in Southwestern Ontario, received a repayable loan of $1 million from the federal government.
Sand Plains Aquaculture will produce Canadian-farmed tilapia for consumption in the Toronto market.
The first phase of the project will enable the company to raise over half a million pounds of tilapia for this market and will create a minimum of 10 full-time jobs. Another 20 jobs will be created when the operation is in full steam.
Sand Plains purchased the mushroom composting facility four years ago, reports the LondonFreePress (lfpress.com).
Joe Preston, member of Parliament for Elgin-Middlesex-London, says the project will help boost the local economy and enhance the domestic fish farming industry. He also told the lfpress.com that the project is “a neat thing – out in the middle of nowhere…in the middle of farmland, far from oceans.”
The company could start fish deliveries in about three weeks.
In its first year, Sand Plains anticipates sales of $1 million, which will rise to more than $10 million when fully functional. The business will also create opportunities for further food processing such as fillets and value-added items.