Rainforest Seafood SVG Ltd, on Friday, opened its 25,000 square foot seafood processing facility, “Big Blue”, in Calliaqua, saying that the “state-of-the-art plant” is equipped to process a wide variety of species to the highest global standards.
“Fin fish, lobster, conch, pelagic, seaweed, the possibilities within these walls, within this more than half-an-acre of real estate are endless,” said Brian Jardim, chief executive of the Jamaica-based company.
He said that the plant features a quarter million pounds of cold storage, blast freezers, best-in-class cold chain, along with cutting edge equipment that will allow at-source retail packaging and will ensure the product presentation appeals to various international markets and customers.
Jardim said Big Blue is the largest and most advanced seafood processing facility anywhere in the Eastern Caribbean, “something we can all be very proud of.
“We are committed to partnering with fisher folk and are confident that these partnerships, in combination with our landmark facility, will put St. Vincent on the map as a global player, a game changer with the ability to supply highest quality seafood products to any market in the world and make Rainforest St. Vincent the preferred destination for Vincy fishermen to sell their catch.”
He said that EU certification of the SVG fisheries is one of the critical hurdles “for us and country certification is actively a work in progress at the government level.
“This will open up another world of possibilities and lucrative untapped markets that we currently ship to from other plants in the Caribbean. So that is just one more opportunity for growth we see out of this facility,” Jardim said.
“Sustainability is at the core of everything we do and we will support fishing practices to ensure the longevity of St. Vincent and the Grenadines marine resources. Healthy oceans are healthy profits has been our company mantra from the day we began and this will be adhered to here more than anywhere else.”
He said that 80 Vincentians work full time at the facility.
The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has granted a 15-year tax break to Rainforest Seafood SVG Ltd, which had said it will invest EC$10 million in the fish processing facility at Calliaqua.
In addition, the government said that no taxes or duties will be imposed on a wide range of items for the construction of the company’s processing facility, as well as equipment, including boats and trucks.
Rainforest Seafoods also has processing plants in Jamaica, Belize, St. Lucia, and Barbados and exports to over 30 countries across the world.