Top US fishing port New Bedford is welcoming a new seafood processing facility to its shoreline with the official opening of Island Creek Cannery, a canning business focusing on shellfish conserves.
The facility, described as "a first-of-its-kind cannery on the East Coast", expands the port's overall processing capacity. According to its founders, the facility is intended to provide local shellfish farmers consistent market access, "while providing a shelf-stable, nutritious line of local value-driven seafood products, contributing to a more diverse, sustainable, and secure aquaculture industry."
Owned by oyster aquaculture company Island Creek Oysters, a farm based in Duxbury, Massachusetts, the new 10,000 square foot facility is expected to provide consistent access to market for local shellfish producers.
"The facility will also help address oversupply by ensuring adequate processing capacity during market fluctuations, shore up prices for farmers, reduce waste, diversify species and food, and create a range of jobs from processors to marketing experts," City of New Bedford authorities said in a statement announcing the opening.
The Port of New Bedford ranks as the most valuable commercial fishing port in the USA since 2001, and is already home to other seafood processing and aquaculture businesses as part of the New Bedford Ocean Cluster.
“As America’s seafood capital, New Bedford is the fitting location for the country’s first cannery of craft conservas in the U.S.,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell, formally opening the facility at a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week.
“Island Creek is a naturally renowned brand in the premium shellfish market and a leader in sustainable harvesting practices. We look forward to supporting them in this exciting new venture.”
“We are firm believers that New England’s greatest assets are its coastal communities," said Island Creek Oysters President, Christopher Sherman.
"The new Island Creek Cannery allows us to build the infrastructure we need to reposition canned seafood for US consumers in a way that will not only promote better access to responsible, healthy, domestic protein but also redevelop a major value driver for coastal communities – the American cannery," he continued.
“With 25 years of experience in cultivating a consumer-facing lifestyle brand that educates and inspires consumers about the multi-faceted benefits of oysters and aquaculture, the Island Creek team is thrilled to be the stewards of this transformative initiative," Sherman added.