Plenty of mussel at Greerton plant

By Joseph Aldridge

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A new production line at the North Island Mussels plant in Greerton is processing 6000 pottles of marinated mussels a day.

About 30 per cent of the pottles are exported to Australia, in addition to the 50 tonnes of frozen half-shell mussels exported from the company each day.

The marinated mussels production line was transferred by owner Sealord to Tauranga from Nelson late last year after formation of a new amalgamated company.

North Island Mussels was formed by Sealord and Sanford in October following the receivership of the company formerly known as North Island Mussel Processors Ltd (NIMPL).

With its financial woes behind it, the new company was able to take over the management of Sealord and Sanford's mussel farming operations in the Coromandel, and add the new production line at the $23 million Tauranga plant.

Chief executive Steve Wells said the new additions had increased total staff numbers to almost 300, although about 250 were seasonal.

The farming operations in the Coromandel manage about 800 lines, meaning the company now farmed the largest amount of mussels in the region, he said.

With about 23 permanent staff at the Coromandel farms, the company has also secured a PhD student through a co-funding arrangement with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Mr Wells said North Island Mussels would look to expand its farming operations over the coming years as a way of maximising the capacity of its Tauranga plant.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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