Seafood is Nova Sco­tia’s top ex­port

In­dus­try has op­por­tu­nity to help grow the econ­omy: min­is­ter

Cape Breton Post - - Northside | Cape Breton - BY JULIE COLLINS jcollins@cb­post.com

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.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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.

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