Dinko Tuna Farmers has unveiled a statue on site commemorating the company's namesake and a man fondly remembered as a leading pioneer of Port Lincoln's tuna industry.
Managing director Lukina Lukin unveiled the statue of her late husband Dinko Lukin in the newly refurbished boardroom, known as 'Dinko's Room' on Friday in front of members of the Lukin family and Dinko Tuna staff as well as representatives from the Port Lincoln community and the local fishing industry.
Port Lincoln sculptor Ken Martin completed the statue in December, which depicts Mr Lukin from the waist up, crossed arms with a smile on his face.
Ms Lukin said she was very happy with the work Mr Martin did and how her late husband is depicted.
Also in Dinko's room is a wall dedicated to Mr Lukin created by SignFX and includes photos from his life, excerpts from newspaper articles he featured in and a timeline of his involvement in the tuna industry.
Ms Lukin said the room reflected on her husband's work while the company was also moving forward into the future.
"He is a role model for me and when I think of doing something I go forward and do it," she said.
"As he would say, 'nothing is impossible'."
The ceremony included speeches from Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association chief executive officer Brian Jeffriess, Dinko Tuna Farmers director Michael Van Doorn, Member for Flinders Peter Treloar and Port Lincoln mayor Brad Flaherty.
Family friend Diana Mislov served as master of ceremonies for the unveiling and said it was a great to see Ms Lukin work to get this tribute created for her late husband.
"I think it's a testimonial to her loyalty and love for Dinko to do something so nice and make a tribute to him," she said.
Mr Martin said it was an absolute privilege to work on the sculpture.
"When I came here in 1978 the tuna pioneer days were still going," he said.
"It's a dynamic industry with dynamic people in the industry and it's a privilege to record some of that in sculpture."
New facility a bold step forward
Dinko Tuna Farmers also used the occasion to give people a glimpse of the future with its new processing facility, which is set to go into operation near the end of the month.
The business unveiled its new processing facility which, in a first for Port Lincoln will have the ability to freeze tuna down to -60 degrees celsius within 45 minutes.
Dinko Tuna Farmers managing director Lukina Lukin said the idea for the new facility came after attending a seminar on luxury and functional foods.
"When I walked out of the seminar I looked at what I want our tuna to be," she said.
Ms Lukin approached Nutrisea consultant Trent Dantignana, who had worked with her for the past three to four years assisting with fish nutrition and fish health, as well as value adding and processing elements.
The facility has a processing table that has sections where fish first have their heads and tails removed, then move to the next section to be loined and then finally skinned and deboned.
The tuna is then vacuum-packed and put on shelves, which go into a freezing unit where liquid nitrogen bring the temperature down to -60 degrees before being packed into cartons.
Mr Dantignana said each cabinet in the freezing unit could hold about 120 fish.
He said there was a focus on domestic markets with the aim of the product gaining EU and US certification.
Ms Lukin said work on the facility was ongoing but was set to go into operation by June 25.
Work will include the replacement of the freezer which will be able to go down to -60 degrees, compared to -30 degrees with the current freezer.
Ms Lukin said the product would go out to restaurants and hotels straight away but there was a goal of producing a ready-to-eat product.
"I believe it will be a positive way which will bring us to create ready-to-eat tuna," she said.
The factory is also undertaking a project to upgrade its waste water system.