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Astrid's workplace makes 50,000 meals a day

Every day, the 80 employees at the factory in Stamsund produce 50,000 meals. Thanks to an investment of ten million Norwegian kroner, Lerøy Norway Seafoods has expanded production at the factory. As a result, fish gratin is now being produced in this idyllic fishing village in the Lofoten archipelago. The new production line has been operating since January.

“Stamsund is incredibly important to us, and we have invested in the factory in several stages. Since 2019, we have been involved in investments of between 250 and 300 million kroner just at Stamsund. We have also made significant investments at other locations along the coast”, says Børge Soleng, the CEO of Lerøy Norway Seafoods.

“This demonstrates our commitment to strengthening local communities, creating secure jobs and promoting sustainable growth and development in the region.”

Astrid poses proudly with the new fish gratin.
Astrid poses proudly with the new fish gratin.

The boss who didn’t plan to stay

Astrid Fadnes Brattebø is the production manager at the factory. Astrid moved to Stamsund three and a half years ago. Really, she just wanted a “sabbatical” from Bergen to work as the Lerøy Way facilitator at the factory, before heading back home. But fate had other plans in store for her.

“The plan was really to stay here for a year, but then things changed a bit. I like the mountains, the sea and outdoor activities, and when my best friend moved here too, I decided to stay. Now I have even bought a flat in Gravdal, so it looks like I’m here to stay”, says Astrid with a smile.

One and a half years ago Astrid was offered the chance to take over as production manager at the factory. The offer was both an honour and a challenge she could not refuse.

“Being in charge of production at such a great factory with a fantastic team was a vote of confidence that I couldn’t turn down. I really enjoy this role”, she says.


New product: fish gratin

Lerøy Norway Seafoods has recently invested ten million Norwegian kroner in the Stamsund factory. This has led to the launch of a completely new product line – fish gratin.

“This investment and the new product represent not just a commitment to innovation and quality, but also to the community and the people who work here”, says Astrid, before adding:

“We produce three different versions of the fish gratin, which are all sold in Coop supermarkets. We strongly believe in this product; it’s really good. Fish gratin is a traditional Norwegian dish, which belongs on Norwegian dinner tables.

Using the whole fish

The upgrade to the factory in Stamsund has not only put a new, tasty dish on supermarket shelves, it also ensures much greater stability for the employees.

“Fishing is an unpredictable business, and low pressure systems can whip up powerful storms out of nowhere. If the weather means the fishers cannot go out that day, we don’t get any fresh fish delivered”, she explains.

“By creating a department for processed fish products at the existing factory, we can continue producing even when the weather is bad. Obviously, we’re very pleased this means we can also provide our staff with jobs all year round.

A large proportion of the raw ingredients used by the factory comes from Lerøy’s own trawlers. The factory also buys fish from the coastal fishing fleet. At the factory in Stamsund, they use rest raw materials to make a variety of fish products.

“We get rest raw materials from the fillet production lines at other Lerøy factories and use them to produce first-class ground fish products. We make fishcakes, fish burgers and fish balls, which are sold in Norgesgruppen’s shops. In addition, we have just started making deep-fried fish balls as a new product.

Astrid poses proudly with the new fish gratin.
Astrid poses proudly with the new fish gratin.

Critical of the quota white paper

In the capture fisheries sector, Lerøy’s subsidiaries Havfisk AS and Lerøy Norway Seafoods AS catch and process a lot of white fish in Norway. Havfisk currently has ten trawlers at its disposal, while Lerøy Norway Seafoods operates factories in places like Båtsfjord, Kjøllefjord, Melbu and Stamsund.

Soleng is highly critical of the new quota white paper. For Lerøy, the main impact is that trawlers will get less of the quota, while the sjark fleet will get more of it. He believes this may put Lerøy’s white fish business at risk, and that politicians are making it difficult to make big new investments.

“In order to be successful, we need a stable regulatory environment. Smaller quotas, on top of what were already exceptionally low cod quotas for natural reasons, make the situation even more challenging. We have invested a significant amount of money based on the situation before the quota white paper. What we want is predictability, so that we can protect our investments and maintain secure, good jobs along the whole coast. That becomes difficult when the rules of the game are changed almost overnight”, says Soleng.