Seafood is Nova Scotia’s top export
Industry has opportunity to help grow the economy: minister
The seafood industry is now worth $1.81 billion a year in exports and is recognized as the number one export in the province.
“We’ve also met the Ivany (report) goal of doubling the seafood exports and we did it in three years instead of 10 years,” said Keith Colwell, provincial minister of fisheries and aquaculture and minister of agriculture.
“Because the industry has stepped up and added value to their products, it is more aggressive with marketing and ultimately with bigger markets, this increases the value of the industry.”
Nova Scotia was represented by 31 companies during the 2017 International Boston Seafood show March 19-21, one of the largest seafood shows in the world.
Colwell described the Boston Seafood Show as a “buyers and a sellers marketplace,” adding that people are signing major
deals at the show, which is positive change.
“I think the industry has a golden opportunity to help grow the economy of Nova Scotia,” Colwell said. “We introduced our new seafood brand in Boston. We have several Nova Scotia companies that want to use it already and that’s exciting for us, so we are really taking a
proactive role in promoting the industry.”
According to the department, the industry’s largest customer of seafood products at present is the United States, followed by the Asia market.
“Europe has increased the amount of fish and fish product they buy from us; but Asia is buying so much that it has really increased the value.”
An area of concern for the department is the difficulty in securing workers for the various processing plants across the province.
“Hundreds of people could get jobs at these fish plants. Some are running buses to various locations to pick people up for work every day,” Colwell said.
Colwell said the modern processing plants are immaculately clean, adding that for most it is a completely different environment than it was 20 years ago.
“It is so important that we continue to look at new ways to add value. As the industry does that, it adds more high tech jobs, which in turn adds more money into our local economy, so it really does pay off,” he said.
“We are on that road now, working closely with the industry and we will continue to do that into the future. We (the department) try to be the facilitators, but it really is the industry that makes it happen.”
Workers process snow crab at PDG Packers in Petit de Grat. The snow crab industry, one of more than 20 species in the provincial commercial seafood fishery, has been in existence since the late 1970s.