Bell Aquaculture President Norman McCowan (Photo: Bell Aquaculture/FIS)
Bell Aquaculture expands production in Indiana
Wednesday, March 07, 2012, 03:20 (GMT + 9)
Bell Aquaculture’s latest expansion is turning it into the largest yellow perch production facility anywhere.
The company is constructing more production and wastewater facilities on 72 acres of land near Albany, Indiana to ramp up production to 28 million fish per year by 2016.
Delaware County Commissioners contributed to the firm’s growth in Redkey, which began when Bell had only a few thousand fish in 2005, by approving a USD 16.6 million economic development revenue bond for infrastructure and wastewater work this week. That bond -- a tool used by local government to promote business development and job creation -- is no obligation on county government and is repaid by investors purchasing the issue.
Commissioners President Todd Donati referred to the project as further good news that will boost the local economy and which may help some of the thousands of people there currently out of work, Muncie Free Press reports.
So far, however, Bell will only be adding about 28 more jobs to its workforce of around 47 with facilities and headquarters in Redkey.
The first phase of the new Albany facility is already in the works.
Bell Aquaculture President Norman McCowan told that the firm would soon achieve world dominance with the next several phases to raise as many as 28 million yellow perch each year. It also changes the landscape of Midwest agriculture, which currently mostly hosts in-house poultry, pork and beef operations but relatively few fish farms.
Already, Bell sells its fish to food distributors including Cisco, Piazza and Indianapolis Fruit, and many restaurants use the trade mark Bell Perch, which is marketed as a higher quality product with a controlled water supply and no environmental contamination with in-house production. Bell’s partners include the Indiana Soybean Alliance and The Conservation Fund.
The aquaculture farms are fueled by water wells and all wastewater is treated at the site. A large portion of the funds will go toward wastewater treatment and facilities.
Bell uses 0.5 per cent of the water employed by older fish farm designs, thus making it possible for dryer parts of the US to get into the business of aquaculture, Salisbury Post reports.
Bell also contributes to the community: it gives fish frys to local groups like the Redkey Volunteer Fire Department and White River cleanup efforts, where Bell recently provided free meals to 500 volunteers that cleared debris and junk from the river.
By Natalia Real