Canadian seafood company Fishery Products International (FPI) has reported a sharp rise in first-quarter net income, driven by higher sales.

FPI posted net income of C$1.7m (US$1.2m), or 11 cents per share, for the first quarter to 3 April, compared to net income of $0.9m, or 6 cents per share, for the same period of 2003.

Sales for the first quarter were $198.0m, compared to $172.1m in the year-ago period.

CEO Derrick Rowe said the company’s marketing and value added business had invested considerably in new product innovation and in sales and marketing expertise, a move that is starting to pay off.

The company said the latest quarter’s results were boosted by new business with national accounts, increased sales of products introduced in 2003 in retail and club stores across the US and Canada, favourable warm-water shrimp margins, and an early Lenten season, resulting in higher demand for fish products.