Stamsund. One of many postcard motifs from the “inside” of Lofoten, with the mountains plunging into the Vestfjord and a handful of holms and skerries encircling the old fishing village. Fishing has been the most important source of income here for generations, and the villagers have experienced both good times and bad. In 2016, Lerøy purchased Stamsund’s fish-processing business, and today the factory alone employs around 100 people. That’s equivalent to 10% of Stamsund’s population.
“There’s no doubt that the factory is important to Stamsund as a local community: it’s the cornerstone business in the village,” explains factory manager Steffen Andersen. In autumn 2018, Lerøy started up a project that has consolidated the business’s position and importance:
“We rebuilt the entire factory. The external walls are the same but everything inside is new or has been modernised. And in April 2019, we introduced a new dual-production system in the factory, with filleting on the one side and fishcake production on the other. This ensures year-round use of the facility, and is important for people working here,” Andersen emphasises.
Something completely new
The employees are trained to work at all stages of the production chain, so that they can rotate both internally on the production line and between filleting and processed fish.
“The idea behind this is twofold. Firstly, purely in terms of ergonomics, it’s good for the employees to be able to vary their working position. Secondly, we’re building a more robust workforce, making us more flexible and able to adjust production according to the supply of raw materials. Now that we have a more automated production system with new, modern machinery, we also require different skills from our employees. Previously, we had many manual operations, but now they need a greater understanding of machinery. It has been a challenging transition for many, but I feel we’re on the right track now,” says Andersen.
“It’s been fantastic to be able to invest in, build and create something completely new in the Lerøy context. After all, we haven’t been involved in this type of production before, so it’s been an exciting challenge for us. It’s brought us closer together too, at the same time as really giving us chance to show that we’re working in accordance with one of Lerøy’s core values: being creative.”