Our foundation for harvesting the fresh waters of Lake Erie was established over 100 years ago. It began, when a small, private family business fishing out of nearby ports, sold fresh, whole fish packed in ice. Soon to follow, were a small processing plant, additional fishermen, freezing technology and continued growth.
Over the decades, the natural environment changed as did the fish species and the migration of smelt into Lake Erie. Smelt numbers grew rapidly, in the fast-flowing, cool freshwater habitat ideal for this delicate fish. Specialized harvesting and handling methods, and state-of-the-art processing techniques were continuously refined and improved. In the 1980’s, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans introduced sustainability quotas. Smelt became the largest single quota species in Lake Erie and Great Lakes Foods the largest quota holder.
Today, headquartered in Chatham, Ontario, Canada, Great Lakes Food Company specializes only in premium quality rainbow lake smelt harvested by five trawlers, operating from a 5,000 square meter advanced-processing and 7,000 pallet-positioned cold storage complex. Food safety and quality is at the core of everything Great Lakes Food does as the company is certified by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and maintains SQF (Safe Quality Food) Level 2 GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) accreditation. Great Lakes Food Company is recognized as the world leader for production and supply of premium quality rainbow lake smelt.