Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First to the standard in Port Simpson

With the province of British Columbia promoting a new standard of approval for its fish products, the Coast Tsimshian Fish Plant in Port Simpson has become one of the first processing plants in the province to receive its accreditation.

The Daily News featured the details on the new level of sustainability as the front page story in the Monday edition.

North Coast facility already has approval that rest of B. C. is being urged to seek
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pages one and three

Salmon being processed in Port Simpson will be some of the first in British Columbia to carry a new stewardship stamp of approval before they reach the local and international marketplace.
On Wed., July 23, The Daily News reported that the government of British Columbia was putting forward funding to help B.C.'s commercial fisheries attain a certified level of sustainability.

Last week, Environment Ministry Barry Penner said a $100,000 commitment from the province would further the process of getting B.C.'s seafood industry renowned as best in the world.

"British Columbians are becoming leaders in the global drive for fisheries sustainability," said Penner.

"Credible eco-labelling is increasingly important for our industry to succeed in competitive markets, and it's an important part of our government's strategy to promote B.C. seafood."

Bob Jongewaard, general manager of the Coast Tsimshian Fish Plant said he applied for the MSE certification over a year ago, and the plant finally received their certificate of approval on Thurs., July 24, the day after the article appeared in the paper.

"I think it makes us one of, if not the first ones to have the certification in the province," said Jongewaard.

After hearing about the government plan to use $100,000 to help processing plants across the province receive the standard, Jongewaard wonders if they will be able to receive some retroactive financial assistance, as it cost nearly $20,000 to finally become certified after they applied for it June, 2007.

Built in the '70s, which makes the plant relatively new by industry standards, Jongewaard said the MSC auditors were impressed with the facility's clean, bright, and large setting and modern equipment.

"It cost a fortune with the travel back and forth, and getting audited by the MSE people," said Jongewaard. " ... the certificated is valid for three years, and they audit you every year. That's in addition to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency audit we have every year."

"So now, we have two agencies that govern us, and there will probably be some more around sooner or later," said Jongewaard.

With the Marine Stewardship Council certification, the MSC logo can now be carried on all Alaskan salmon products processed for Bear's Choice Seafood at the Coast Tsimshian Fish Plant.

The MSC logo is becoming recognized as the premier in sustainable seafood standards throughout the world, and some of the world's largest consumers of British Columbia/Alaska seafood are looking for that stamp of approval.

Major retailers in the United States, European Union and Japan are increasing demanding the MSC approval for imported seafood products.

Jongewaard said the Port Simpson plant is now back up to speed after sitting quiet for years, and this summer it will be processing a range of fish from hake, crab, salmon, and sardines.

"We're participating, and we didn't expect to do it all in one year, but certainly the product has been good with what we have done," said Jongewaard.

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