Processing, production and distribution facilities at the Woolston plant cover over 5 hectares of land and utilise some of the most sophisticated, up-to-date plant and equipment in the world.
The site has undergone massive redevelopment since its inception in 1966 to keep pace with production requirements and has the ability to further expand when necessary. A fish meal plant was built in 1980 and since then, bulk coolstores, squid processing facilities, filleting, processed fillet lines and three value-added plants have been added.
Other facilities include a large dry goods store, bulk load-out bays, a net manufacturing and repair shop and a comprehensive engineering store.
Eight bulk coolstores on site have a capacity of over 8,000 metric tonnes. Product stored is mainly hoki, southern blue whiting and squid, ready for processing. Racking space is also available for 4,500 pallets of processed product.
The filleting lines are highly sophisticated, with plant and equipment being regularly upgraded. Predominant species are either Hoki or Southern Blue Whiting for the US, Japanese, European and Australian markets, packed in shatterpack fillets, IQF fillets, fillet block and snap-frozen to retain the highest quality.
Three production lines, incorporating equipment which is the most modern available today, produce an average 50 metric tonnes per day of superior value-added Independent product for the company's domestic and international markets. They are manufactured from either frozen-at-sea mince, fillet or squid, then coated with premium-quality batters, golden crumb or a variety of different coatings. Non seafood products are also manufactured under Independent and private label brands.
Waste and offal from processing is converted into a high-grade fishmeal, which is sought-after by both domestic and international fish-farming markets.
Food technologists and technicians work in close co-operation with production personnel and rigidly monitor quality standards. Product is sampled regularly for physical and sensory testing in the quality control laboratory. Plant hygiene is strictly controlled - raw materials, water and finished products are tested for a variety of organisms in the company's microbiological laboratory. The design and monitoring of control systems are also a quality assurance responsibility.
The well-equipped workshop is set up to handle all maintenance and repairs on site. Regular preventative maintenance ensures trouble-free operations and the introduction of a computerised management system allows for maximum utilisation of plant and equipment. Engineering staff are also responsible for devising innovations and adaptations which will improve capacity and capability.
Independent Fisheries Limited are IS09001 certified and have verified HACCP plans in place. The company is an approved supplier to a number of food network groups. Quality management systems place major emphasis on all Independent personnel to be aware and focused on the need for continual product improvement, quality and food safety. The company operates under a Risk Management Programme which is registered with the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) and product produced is eligible for export worldwide (including the EU and USA).