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– This is a significant investment for the seafood producer Lerøy, for Kjøllefjord and for Eastern Finnmark. This investment means securing year-round jobs and operations at the plant, as well as good ripple effects in the local community, says Børge Soleng, CEO of Lerøy Norway Seafoods.
Lerøy has now decided to invest 158 MNOK in the factory located in Kjøllefjord. This bying station specializes in king crab, but the factory also handles high-quality white fish for filleting and salting. The products from Kjøllefjord are sent to customers all over the world.
– With this, Lerøy gets a more robust and profitable business in Kjøllefjord, which provides opportuinites for further development, says Soleng. He says that the management in Lerøy, in close collaboration with the factory in Kjøllefjord, has been working on these plans since 2019.
– We have worked for many years to make this happen, and it is extra gratifying that we are reaching this goal with such a large investment and venture as this is, says factory manager Raimo Sørensen.
The work itself will start in 2024, and will last a year.
– A significant part of the existing building stock will be demolished and rebuilt, and replaced with a completely new building and new production equipment. The total building area is 1, 534 square meters, says Soleng.
He says that the investment increases the efficiency and capacity of the facility, and provides room for new investment areas and opportunities in seafood in the future.
Extensice work is carried out in Kjøllefjord. The purchase of fish, fillet, salted fish and crab is handled here.
– We invest heavily in crab here, and it is becoming increasingly important to us. We experience great demand for crab, and we supply a lot of crab from here. The crab helps secure our jobs here in Finnmark, and gives us stability in empolyment, says Sørensen.
In March, Lerøy decided to invest 204 MNOK in the fillet factory in Båtsfjord. This means that together with the new project in Kjøllefjord, Lerøy has invested in projects worth more than 360 MNOK in Eastern Finnmark, just through these two projects.
In addition, sigificant ongoing investments have already been made in the upgrading of production equipment after Lerøy took over the ownership.
– We have great faith in the production of seafood in Finnnark, and we look forward to further developing the potential here, says Soleng. He says that Lerøy has an integrated value chain including fishing quaotas with extensive obligations, and it is the trawling rights on the sea that make it possible for Lerøy to make these investments on land.
Lerøy wants to strengthen its business in the region with more year-round permanent jobs both within whitefish and aquaculture and believes that the seafood industry can be one of several "dams" against the negative development in the region.
– Our aim is to process more of what is fished in Norway. This will also ensure activity and jobs along the coast. The investments we are now making are visible proof of this. These are large investments that are based on trust in the politician´s promise of predictable framework conditions, says Soleng.
– We take our social mission seriously, and these are investments that will not only benefit the land industry, but which also ensyre that we will be a large and serious customer of the coastal fleet in the future.
There are 36 employees working in Kjøllefjord. One who is particularly happy for this initiative is Sofie Krogh Rasmussen (27) who works as a production coordinator at Lerøy. She was born and raised close to the factory. After her studies in Tromsø, she moved home and got a permanent job at the factory.
– Sofie is an important part of the management team here in Kjøllefjord, and we are very happy that she has now bought a house and wants to build her future here. This is what it´s all about; to ensure employment, settlement, jobs and creating value along the coast, says Sørensen.
Read more: A northern eldorado for king crab