Modernization of Saldanha Bay facilities ups Sea Harvest capacity to 80,000 tons.
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Modernization of Saldanha Bay facilities ups Sea Harvest capacity to 80,000 tons.

This story was written back in October 1994

Saldanha Bay, a protected inlet some 150 kilometers north of Cape Town, is home to Sea Harvest Corporation Limited. For more than a quarter of a century its fleet has docked there to unload South African hake (Merluccius capensis) and other species caught in the cold, nutrient-rich waters of the West Coast Benguela current ecosystem.

Indeed, the company’s core center of activities and corporate head office are situated at Saldanha Harbour, where a factory operates from a deepwater quay built on reclaimed land. Here the trawlers are able to tie up directly alongside the plant to become a virtual part of the production line.

In 1993 a five-year building and modernization project was completed, entirely replacing the original factory and increasing work space to about 20,000 cubic meters. The premises now incorporate state-of-the-art processing systems and equipment operating in an air-conditioned, highly hygienic environment. The production facility is directly linked to the main holding warehouse, which allows for immediate temperature-controlled transfer of finished products to coldstores. With capacity of 6,000 tons, it too is on the quayside and is thus able to receive product directly from freezer-equipped factory ships.

The fish is caught and landed by a flotilla of 16 deep-sea fresh fish trawlers, seven inshore fresh fish vessels, and two factory-freezer-ships. The freezer-equipped vessels process and pack their catch to be market-ready while still on the fishing grounds.

Sea Harvest strives to remain in the forefront of the regional trawling industry through operating efficiently and cost-effectively, by development of new technology and processes, and by engaging in differentiated marketing programs. It employs more than 3,000 people and has the capacity to catch and process about 80,000 tons of fish per annum.

The company’s primary focus is on natural hake, fillets and portions, as well as coated fillets, portions and snacks. Products are supplied to retail, foodservice and bulk customers. All processing is done to meet client requirements, and as such the line of items packed is wide and varied. Fish may be whole or filleted, deep-or shallow-skinned, deboned and de-fatted, or further processed into cuts such as steaks, loins and loin fillets. Customized fish block specifications also form part of the range.

The South African firm (fax: 02281-43555) consistently invests in the development of new products that appeal to changing consumer needs and address shifting trends. And methods of improving existing lines and processes are constantly under review.

“Our quality assurance program starts from the moment a net is lowered into the water,” said Denis Handley. “Experience has taught that no amount of care in the factory can undo damage done by poor handling at sea.”

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