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  The eKubator


Kittiwake Economic Development Corporation

The eKubator Project

Posted: Friday - July 27, 2001

Craig and Roger Penney are bringing in the cod, hand over fist. Big, swollen, beautiful cod, gleaming like gun metal. While it seems like a scene of decades past, it is present day and the Salvage-based Penney brothers are reaping a profit from a species that some people had given up for all but gone.

This a different day, and the fishery has been reupholstered. The Penneys are engaged in cod farming - growing penned fish to better capitalize on markets and enhance value. Cod are known for their voracious appetite and tend to gain wait very quickly if fed regularly.

"We got interested in it after a meeting held by the Kittiwake Economic Development Corporation at the hall here in town. It seemed to be a good way to increase our bountage of cod seeing as we only had small quotas," Craig said. "We tried it out on a small level this year to find out what it's all about. We're quite interested in getting a bit bigger if we can."

In July of 2000, the Penneys put 5,994 pounds of fish to pen. With Father Winter extending his cold tendrils in December, they harvested their catch - at approximately 12,000 pounds. The brothers benefited from a strong relationship with P. Janes and Sons Ltd., which has a processing facility in Salvage. The Penneys are both multi-species fishermen, so they could allocate 20,000 pounds of capelin and 5,000 pounds of herring to use as feed. P. Janes and sons froze the Penney's feed and were the buyer for the harvested cod.

"We had a good relationships with the Penneys, and we helped them through the year whenever we could," explained Allen Vatcher, the Salvage plant manager. Mr. Vatcher was also impressed with the fish.

"The fish is an excellent quality," he said. "The texture is really good. Overall, it produced a beautiful-looking product." In addition, farmed cod may be able to expand the operational season of the Salvage Plant.

"Right now, the only cod growers we have are here in Salvage," explained Ralph Pynn, aquaculturalist with P. Janes and Sons Ltd. "Salvage is the focus of our groundfish operation, so it makes sense to develop cod aquaculture nearby. We are looking at ways to expand the season of our processing facility and cod farming should help. We look forward to working with more cod growers next season and would like to position ourselves so that at some point we have wild cod, farmed cod and hatchery-raised cod to avail of at different times of the year." Mr. Pynn concurred that the catch were "really healthy, really good fish" and commended the Penneys on their success.

"They had the right attitude from the beginning and started small just to get their feet wet. Realizing that you have to fail in order to succeed, they promised to give themselves a couple of years to see if this was a worthwhile venture. They are an example for other fishermen looking to get into the farmed cod business."

100 days after putting the cod to pen, the stock has doubled its weight. If the Penneys had sold their catch in July, they would have gotten around 75 cents a pound. On this frigid day in December, they will earn $1.50 per pound on their catch, in addition to 300 pounds of milt, which will be sold to the Asian market for $1.25 per pound.

Cod farming has been a success for the Penneys - next year they're considering stocking 15,000 pounds. It looked like cod farming would enjoy further growth on the Eastport Peninsula this year. Unfortunately, the plant burned down June 20, and the future of cod farming in the area is very much up in the air.

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by eBerg Staff