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Fisher undergoes $10m upgrade

During the past four years, Nor-West Seafoods Pty Limited has undergone some $10 million worth of expansion to its fishing fleet and base in Carnarvon.

The Fremantle-based company has recently invested in four new purpose-built prawn trawlers to modernise its fleet.

The new trawlers have been designed to suit the Carnarvon/Shark Bay area where there are limitations on the size of the vessels that are allowed to operate.

Development has also involved upgrading equipment and infrastructure at its factory to provide a new computerised prawn grading system.

The company has also improved refrigeration and built a 40-person accommodation complex.

In 1997 the company ventured into wholesale sales of fresh seafood from the prawning factory on Babbage Island for locals and tourists.

Today Nor-West has the only processing factory in the Shark Bay prawn and scallop fishery industry at Babbage Island.

This year will see modifications to the factory area to create a whaling museum to complement retail sales.

The museum will incorporate a theatrette to screen whaling films made in the 1950s.

A charter boat, the Abel Tasman, will provide whale watching and whale interaction experiences off the coast of Carnarvon.

The company’s next plan involves mariculture and a tuna farm in Shark Bay.

Nor-West Seafoods began business in the 1950s as a whaling company but government restrictions to whaling in 1962 resulted in the company being sold and its business redirected towards prawning.

Under the current owner, Kel Brown, who purchased the company in 1993, Nor-West Seafoods has become a highly progressive operation.

Mr Brown, who also owns Geraldton Cray Boats which operates six lobster vessels out of Geraldton, saw the opportunity to expand his fishing fleet and the scallop catch, and branch into prawning.

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