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Clearwater debuts new vessel for catching Arctic surf clams off N.L and N.S.

Clearwater Seafoods held a ceremony in Halifax Friday to officially launch the Anne Risley, a state-of-the-art factory vessel that will catch Arctic surf clams off Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. - Clearwater Seafoods
Clearwater Seafoods held a ceremony in Halifax Friday to officially launch the Anne Risley, a state-of-the-art factory vessel that will catch Arctic surf clams off Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. - Clearwater Seafoods

HALIFAX – Clearwater Seafoods officially unveiled the Anne Risley, its newest clam vessel, during a ceremony in Halifax on Friday morning, Dec. 1.

The 73.4-metre ship, which is named after Clearwater co-founder John Risley’s late mother, will harvest Arctic surf clams year-round off the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.

"The Anne Risley represents a $70 million investment to replace an existing 31-year-old clam vessel with a state-of-the-art factory ship that will deliver significant productivity and efficiency improvements to Clearwater’s clam fleet," Clearwater CEO Ian Smith said in a news release.

"This investment follows the launch of the Belle Carnell in July 2015, which now completes Clearwater’s fleet modernization program, creating one of the most modern and technologically advanced fishing fleets in the world."

Clams harvested by the Anne Risley and crew will be automatically shucked and individually-quick-frozen within an hour of catch using the vessel’s proprietary and advanced harvesting and processing technologies, the release states.

Products will be sold almost exclusively into international, high-value sushi and sashimi markets, expanding both Clearwater and Canada’s seafood exports to the North American, Asian and European markets.

"Global demand for seafood is outpacing supply, creating favourable market dynamics for vertically-integrated producers," said Smith.

"This investment is another demonstration of Clearwater’s ongoing commitment to create the greatest economic return for the fishery, while ensuring the principles of fisheries conservation science are upheld and respected, with resources safeguarded for future generations.”

Clearwater packs and grades Arctic surf clams at its facility in Grand Bank.

 The company also announced the recertification of the offshore Arctic surf clam fishery under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard for sustainable wild fisheries.

"The Clearwater offshore Arctic surf clam fishery certification confirms this fishery meets the rigorous global environmental standards set out by the MSC," Smith said.

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