Since being launched last June, seven Nova Scotia seafood companies have received certification under the Nova Scotia Seafood Quality Program (NSSQP).

The program provides certification for the province’s top exported seafood products, including live and processed lobster, oysters, sea scallops, Atlantic halibut and 13 other species.

“Companies have been expressing interest in this new program and the certification process. They want to learn more about the program’s benefits,” said N.S. Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Steve Craig.

“The department will work with industry to build greater awareness about the Nova Scotia Seafood Quality Program with seafood companies in the local market. Certified companies are now recognized as Nova Scotia seafood ambassadors and as recommended premium suppliers on the website species page. And it is linked to their individual company listings in the Nova Scotia export directory.”

Craig said the department also provides Nova Scotia seafood companies certified under the program access to the Nova Scotia seafood brand creative and trademarked logo for use on their own marketing materials and to showcase on social media.

“The department will continue to raise the profile of all companies certified under the Nova Scotia Seafood Quality Program. These seafood ambassadors will be featured prominently in Nova Scotia seafood brand promotional materials, marketing campaigns, digital and social media and all incoming/outgoing trade-related events,” he said.

The certifications were developed by Nova Scotia Seafood, in partnership with Perennia Food and Agriculture Inc. and Université Sainte-Anne. More than 25 industry members were consulted on the development of the standards.

Université Sainte-Anne manages the live lobster certification that ensures lobster suppliers, exporters and harvesters comply with handling and holding best practices, lobster quality, water monitoring and traceability. Many of the services that Université Sainte-Anne provides as part of the program are free for companies. These include documentation, technical support, site visits and training.

The main pillars of the program include handling and holding best practices, lobster quality, water monitoring and traceability. A manual and guidelines are available for companies interested in learning more about the program and its criteria.

Perennia manages the certification for all other species and requires that seafood exporters comply with applicable regulatory requirements, premium quality standards, as well as a commitment to continuous improvement.

The Nova Scotia Seafood Quality Program is a set of quality standards that meet or exceed the very best globally recognized standards around seafood quality, sustainability and traceability for each of the brand species.