Financing has been secured and a contract has been signed for the construction of a clean-design, purpose-built, 80-metre stern trawler, to be delivered in February 2024 to Baffin Fisheries.
The company went to Norwegian naval architect Skipsteknisk for the design of the new vessel, which will be built at Tersan Shipyard in Turkey.
Due to become the largest fishing vessel in Canadian ownership, the new trawler will have fishroom capacity for 1320 tonnes of frozen-at-sea Greenland halibut (turbot) or 930 tonnes of cold-water shrimp.
‘This is a great accomplishment for a 100% Inuit-owned company that’s just 20 years old,’ said Baffin Fisheries chairman David Alexander in Iqaluit.
‘The new vessel will allow us to immediately increase benefits to Nunavut communities and improve employment opportunities and working conditions for our Inuit fishermen.’
Baffin Fisheries is owned by Inuit Hunters and Trappers Associations in five Qikiqtani region (Baffin Island) communities.
Scotiabank led the incremental financing of up to $60M towards the $72M acquisition and included direct lending from Export Development Canada (EDC).
The Canadian Economic Development Agency (CanNor) is providing a $3M repayable contribution towards the vessel.
‘The team from Scotiabank and EDC allowed us to finance this acquisition entirely within Canada, and the loan from CanNor ensured the best design/build possible for our unique Arctic fishing environment. This incredible new vessel reduces our carbon footprint, provides greater returns to shareholders, and has capacity for expansion, including the ability to harvest new species in the future,’ said Baffin Fisheries CEO Chris Flanagan.
‘We are proud to support this investment in Baffin Fisheries, which will bring long term incremental benefits to Nunavut communities, and support this strong Inuit owned fishing company,’ commented Sean Albert, SVP business banking distribution at Scotiabank.
‘This transaction co-led by our Commercial Banking Team and our Indigenous Financial Services Team aligns with our desire to continue to grow our support for the Inuit led businesses, as well as supporting the fisheries industry across Canada.’
Baffin Fisheries was incorporated 20 years ago, on Nov. 6, 2001. Today the Company is the leading commercial fishing enterprise in Northern Canada, harvesting more than 10,000 tonnes of Greenland halibut and cold-water shrimp annually.
‘Baffin Fisheries exemplifies the businesses EDC is looking to support, as we continue working to ensure Indigenous companies have the same opportunities as all Canadians to take on the world and grow their international business,’ said Dan Mancuso, SVP financing & investment at EDC.
‘We’re eagerly watching as this Inuit-owned company uses this support to expand its export capacity and drive revenues in a manner that’s efficient and environmentally friendly while improving working conditions for its employees and investing in its community.’