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New fishing plant coming to Hay River, ‘central to rebuilding industry’

A new fish processing plant is coming to Hay River, after the construction project was awarded to Arctic Canada Construction Ltd. (Arcan).

Arcan will be responsible for the design and construction, along with seven other local companies who will contribute to the building work.

The plant will be managed by the Tu Cho Fishing Cooperative.

“We are excited by this announcement; the new fish plant is good for the future and for us fishers,”  Cameron Beaverbones, from the Tu Cho Fishers Cooperative said in a statement. ”We are looking forward to better fish prices and finding markets for all our fish. It will work!”

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According to a statement from Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI), the new plant will be “central to the GNWT’s plans to restore the Great Slave Lake commercial fishery. 

Minister for ITI Caroline Wawoznek said in a statement the project would increase returns for career fishermen and create new jobs.

In January, a pilot program run by ITI aimed at boosting participation in the fishing industry ran in the winter. At the time, ITI Minister Caolrine Wawzonek said the goal with the project is to build the fishing industry in

“In time, our plan is to see new and year-round jobs in processing, packaging, selling and transporting NWT fish to market,” Wawzonek said in a statement in January. “As well as new products including more opportunities for NWT residents to access fresh, healthy, locally-produced food.”

The Tu Cho Cooperative signed a deal with the territorial government in 2020, committing to reestablishing the territory’s fishery.

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There were 26 different licenced fishers delivered fish to the Hay River Fish plant in 2019, collectively harvesting 824,000 lbs of fish last year, netting $1 million from the export of Great Slave Lake Fish in an average year.

Design work is expected to begin in June and construction completed by September 2022.

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