January 05, 2012–The Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association, with a $75,800 contribution from the Provincial Government, will secure the services of Global Trust, an independent consultant, to explore certification and standards for the rapidly growing aquaculture industry. With best practices already in place, the consultant’s work will further position companies operating in the finfish and shellfish farming and processing sectors to be ready for future market requirements.

“There is increasing market pressure by consumers to ensure food, including aquaculture products, is produced in a safe and sustainable manner,” said the Honourable Keith Hutchings, Minister of Innovation, Business and Rural Development. “This work will strengthen the aquaculture industry’s sustainability and competitiveness while addressing consumer requirements. This will ultimately benefit a sector that is extremely valuable to the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Global Trust, a company that has delivered International Organization for Standardization accredited certification for a variety of seafood programs, will identify and review existing processes. As part of its work Global Trust will recommend further standards in such areas as food safety, traceability, environmental monitoring and product quality.

“The Provincial Government is dedicated to supporting sustainability and quality in the world marketplace through this investment,” said the Honourable Darin King, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. “While Newfoundland and Labrador has best practices in place to meet global standards, this project will assist the industry in attaining globally recognized certification, thereby providing a tremendous advantage for the province in the long term.”

In 2010, aquaculture production in Newfoundland and Labrador reached a record level of 15,360 tonnes, valued at $116 million. Production rose 13 per cent and the market value for aquaculture products increased by 26 per cent. Currently, there are approximately 100 licensed sites, centred in the Coast of Bays and Green Bay regions of the province, directly employing over 700 people.

“The aquaculture industry throughout Newfoundland and Labrador is playing a significant role in our rural economy and through the commitment of the Provincial Government we are striving to reach our full potential,” said Miranda Pryor, Executive Director of the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association. “The retail marketplace is increasingly attentive in ensuring that the products they sell originate from environmentally and socially responsible practices. The aquaculture industry in Newfoundland and Labrador is proud to provide sustainable seafood choices to the global marketplace and this funding will allow the association to assist companies in identifying the most cost effective ways of objectively demonstrating the sustainability of their operations.”

This initiative was funded with a $19,950 investment from the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development’s Regional/Sectoral Diversification Fund. The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is investing $55,850.

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Media contacts:

Bradley Power, Director of Communications, Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
709-729-3733, 699-5707, bradleypower at gov dot nl dot ca

Scott Barfoot, Director of Communications, Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development
709-729-4570, 690-6290, scottbarfoot at govdot nl dot ca