CANADA – The Nova Scotia Seafood Quality Program (NSSQP), a program launched in 2021 to market the quality of seafood from the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, has added seven new seafood companies to its standard to promote the province’s seafood to world markets.

Nova Scotia’s Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture announced in a release.

The NSSQP is oriented toward the province’s top exported seafood products, including lobster, sea scallops, and Atlantic halibut.

It is “a comprehensive scheme that combines elements of food safety, seafood quality, sustainability, and traceability into one comprehensive certification.

“For some species, it is the only certification scheme which explicitly incorporates product sampling, product inspection, and evaluation as a central requirement under the certification,” the program said on its website.

The certification process comprises of a company self-assessment and pre-screening, a brand application, an initial site and product audit, followed by a deliberation and decision by the NSSQP Committee, and subsequent annual or semi-annual surveillance.

Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Steve Craig noted in a release that it is only by strengthening their quality standards that companies can provide sustainability, quality, food safety, and healthy options that influence buying decisions in the global market.

“Certification raises the profile of Nova Scotian seafood companies and their products in a market that is fast-changing and competitive,” he said.

The provincial government said In addition to the certification itself, companies that reach the standard also receive promotional benefits, according to SeafoodSource.

“Certified companies gain access to the Nova Scotia seafood brand marketing materials and trademarked logo for use in their own marketing, become recommended suppliers on the Province’s seafood marketing website, and can be included in strategic marketing promotions throughout the year,” Nova Scotia’s news release said.

Certification enhances competitiveness

Hitherto, the companies that have achieved certification include North Bay Fisherman’s Cooperative, NovaCan Live Seafood, Premium Seafoods Group, Lobsters R us, Bill & Stanley Oyster Company, Live Stor Sydney – Live Seafood Storage System, and Fisherman’s Premium Atlantic Lobster. 

Certified companies with high-quality products will sharpen their competitive edge by meeting or exceeding the highest globally recognized standards around seafood quality, sustainability and traceability.

They are also recognized as Nova Scotia Seafood Ambassadors and receive many promotional benefits.

Nova Scotia’s top 17 export seafood species are all eligible for certification namely,  Atlantic halibut, cold water shrimp, haddock, Atlantic sea scallop, tuna, swordfish, snow crab, herring, silver hake, sea urchin, red fish, sea cucumber, mussels, Atlantic pollock, Atlantic salmon, lobster and oysters.

The program involves an initial and annual third-party audit. Producers must also provide export-ready products annually for quality and aesthetics assessment.

For all species except live lobster, certification will cost about $3,500 (USD 2,729.72)  per year. Participants will get two days of dedicated support per year valued at $1,800 (USD 1,403.72) from Perennia, which also conducts the third-party audit.

Perennia is a non-profit corporation with the mission to help farmers, fishermen and food processors be prosperous and profitable.

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