SPAIN - Culmárex Group, a leader in Spain for breeding and raising seabass and seabream, celebrated the opening of its new processing facility in Águilas on the south coast of Spain.
With a processing capacity of 24,000 tons, this Águilas facility is now one of the most modern and innovative in its sector.
Culmárex Group, which markets its bream and bass under the "Culmárex" brand has more than doubled its production from 8,000 tons to 18,000 tons and its value from €45 million to 100 million euros since 2011, thanks to the strong commitment and investment from the owners of Cooke Aquaculture, which also have aquaculture operations in North America, South America and most recently in Scotland.
It was necessary to carry out the expansion of the Culmárex processing facility in Aguilas after two recent acquisitions of additional Spanish fish farming assets, which have brought the company to a leadership position in the Spanish sea bream and sea bass rearing sector.
The event was chaired by the Minister of Agriculture and Water of the Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia, Antonio D. Cerdá, Glenn B. Cooke, owner of Culmárex and CEO of the Canadian salmon farming company, Cooke Aquaculture and Régis D. Philippe, CEO of the Culmárex Group. Other regional authorities also attended the event, including the Mayor of the City of Aguilas, D. Bartolomé Hernández.
"In 2011, we believed Culmárex and Cooke Aquaculture shared similar aims and principles and we were right,” Glenn Cooke told guests at the event.
“We both take our responsibility for the management of the company, the environment and the welfare of our employees seriously. In just three years, Culmárex has grown from growing 330 direct jobs to 500 jobs along with more than three thousand indirect jobs along the Spanish Mediterranean coast.”
Mr Cooke added: “I am also pleased that the Canadian Government has negotiated a free trade agreement with the EU and that the European Union is urging its members to support the growth of aquaculture. I understand that this has led to the development of plans for expansion in various parts of Spain, including Murcia. As CEO of Cooke Aquaculture and owner of Culmárex, I am prepared to invest and make those expansions a reality. I understand the potential for Jobs and economic growth
generated by our business and am committed to working with you and realizing this potential.”
An investment of €1.5 million expanded the Aguilas plant facility by 2,000 m2 making it the largest fish packing plant of sea bass and sea bream in the Mediterranean Region.
The installation of four Marel state-of-the-art machines and two robots to pallet the packaged fish, allowed for an increased annual capacity of around 24,000 tons.
Culmárex products can now be in the market overnight thanks to this automated plant and the addition of new loading docks.
The Minister of Agriculture, Antonio Cerdá thanked the Cooke family and Culmárex for its investment in the Murcia region. He recognised aquaculture as an important economic and social solution for the region and committed to working with Culmárex and the authorities to further develop the sector in Spain. He also acknowledged the importance of the universites and other research institutions in providing the science needed to further develop aquaculture and to investigate the opportunity of growing other fish species in Spain.
Régis Philippe, CEO of Culmárex Group, highlighted the company’s strong commitment to innovation as well as its strong social and environmental commitment to the community and the territories in which it operates. “We make a point of adapting to social, economic and business changes without losing our values - values that are important to the more than a thousand people of Aguilas and the Region of Murcia who are either directly or indirectly affected by our business.”
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