Smoking out the competition

The Marine Harvest-owned Ducktrap Smokery, in Maine, is growing at an impressive 15% per year.

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Marine Harvest's Ducktrap smoking facility, located on Maine's mid-coast, began over 35 years ago with humble roots. In 1978, founder Des Fitzgerald located prime land for a trout farm, and eventually expanded into small-scale trout smoking. Ducktrap River Fish Farm, as it was called then, served local restaurants and markets. Fitzgerald started smoking the fish to stabilize the business and give longer shelf life to the products. As salmon fishing in Maine and New Brunswick blossomed, the business shifted in that direction and grew to meet the demand for the more popular product.

Today, the business produces over 100 quality products that include dozens of species of finfish and three different shellfish items, in a variety of flavours in hot and cold smoked options.

While the majority of Ducktrap products are consumed in the Eastern United States (45% in 2014), the delicious products are starting to gain interest westerly. Ducktrap products are now available at premium retailers including Whole Foods, Trader Joe's (in Trader Joe’s private label), Publix, Fresh Market, Raley’s, Sprouts Farmers Market, Vons and some higher end Albertsons stores.

“Demand for smoked seafood in general and for Ducktrap smoked seafood is growing at a rapid pace,” says Ducktrap’s General Manager, Don Cynewski. “We have averaged fifteen percent growth per year for the last six years, and completed a $5 million expansion in 2013 and are already experiencing capacity limitations due to growth.”

Cynewski said the goal for the expansion was to keep up with the demand for the company’s products.

Cold smoked salmon – both farm-raised Atlantic and wild-caught Sockeye – make up the majority of the sales (~60%). There’s also smoked rainbow trout in traditional, lemon pepper & garlic, or maple glazed, and smoked Scottish mackerel in plain, peppered, and herb flavours.

The all natural smoking process, with no artificial ingredients, combined with savoury smoke made from Maine’s local oak, maple, cherry, and apple woods, makes for an absolutely delicious product.

In 1991, Ducktrap River moved to their current location: a brand new state-of-the-art facility in Belfast, Maine, allowing the company to maintain a strict adherence to the highest quality standards while pursuing the goal of being the leader in value-added seafood processing.

In 30 years, Ducktrap River of Maine has gone from two workers to 100 employees. What started as a small trout farm selling to local businesses has blossomed into a full scale 45,000 sq. ft. seafood smoking facility that sends high quality, all natural smoked products all across the country.