PORT HARDY—The newest — and largest — addition to James Walkus’s fishing fleet was unveiled in a public viewing Monday at the Keltic Seafood dock.
Today, it gets to work.
The Amarissa Joye, a state-of-the-art fish processor and transporter, is the fourth Walkus boat placed in service under his contract with Marine Harvest Canada.
Twice as large as the other three boats servicing Marine Harvest’s North Island Atlantic salmon-raising facilities, Amarissa Joye boasts a length of 105 feet, a width of 34 feet, and the capacity to carry 375 tonnes of fish.
“It’s beautiful,” deckhand Dennis Walkus said while showing off the engine room to visitors.
From its spacious galley, complete with flat-screen TV, to the accommodations for a crew of four, the Amarissa Joye looks designed for comfort.
But it’s an efficient working machine, with eight stun-and-bleed harvesting chutes for Atlantic salmon and plenty of cold storage belowdecks.
“It’s got all state-of-the-art equipment,” said James Walkus, whose fishing vessels all bear the name Joye in honour of his only daughter. “It’s got the most modern communications, refrigeration, electronics.”
The ship was built over a 21-month period by ABD Boats in Vancouver.
It was first put on public display in Campbell River before motoring up the Island to its local home base.
Walkus says the dramatic increase in harvest and transport capability is meant, in part, to anticipate substantial growth in the farmed salmon industry locally over the next decade.
“The technology and scale of fish farms has been improving immensely over the years, but the scale and capacity of harvesting hasn’t,” said Ian Roberts of Marine Harvest. “Until now, that is.”
Walkus began fishing in 1997 and developed a fleet of three commercial seiners, still in service, before contracting to transport.
He sees no conflict between his operations in harvesting wild and farmed salmon.
“Without farmed fish, wild salmon couldn’t meet the demand,” he said.
With files from Mike Davies, Campbell River Mirror.