The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Derrick Dalley, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture:
Province’s Blue Mussels Positioned to Become Leading Product on Global Seafood Market
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in this Honourable House to acknowledge a significant accomplishment in the aquaculture industry. Last month, mussel producers in this province became the first and only to receive organic aquaculture certification in North America.
To achieve such a designation is an outstanding accomplishment. I offer congratulations to the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association and all mussel growers throughout the province.
This certification entailed a rigorous process. The hard work and dedication of growers and industry representatives exhibited that mussels grown here are produced and processed in a sustainable, environmentally-sound manner. There are no synthetic chemicals, pesticides or genetically modified organisms used in the cultivation of blue mussels.
Mr. Speaker, organic certification has widespread global recognition, which will undoubtedly assist in developing opportunities for new markets for this product, both domestically and internationally. This sector is quickly becoming a true success story, providing economic growth and long-term employment in many rural communities.
The province’s production of cultured blue mussels reached approximately 4,397 metric tonnes in 2012. The market value increased exponentially last year, reaching $14 million.
These newly certified organic blue mussels were introduced to the world market at the recent International Boston Seafood Show. The reception was extremely positive.
The Provincial Government has provided significant financial support to mussel growers in the past. Through the highly successful Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program, and the Aquaculture Strategic Development Program, our government has helped growers promote and develop new markets, diversify product lines, and to upgrade and install state-of-the-art production and processing equipment. Approximately $40,000 was specifically provided to the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association in support of this organic certification.
Investment from the Provincial Government, along with the hard work, dedication and private investment by industry participants, has resulted in positive growth within this sector in recent years. Because of the collaboration and strong working relationships that have been built, blue mussels are now positioned to become a leading product on the global seafood market. Newfoundland mussel producers are now in a class of their own.
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Provincial Government, I ask all Honourable Members to join me in congratulating all those that have added to this tremendous success.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
2013 03 19 1:45 p.m.