HALIFAX, N.S. – A Yarmouth company that is the last independently owned fish cannery in Canada and a long-time fishing industry representative from sou’west Nova Scotia were honoured with Awards of Excellence at the 20th annual Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture Fisheries Minister’s conference in Halifax on Feb. 22 and 23.
Dick Stewart, who served for 39 years as manager of the Atlantic Herring Co-op, and IMO Foods Ltd. were among the five recipients of the Minister’s Awards of Excellence, presented by Fisheries Minister Keith Colwell.
“The Award of Excellence presented to IMO Foods Ltd. was in honour of the company’s “on-going commitment to producing high value, superior quality, value added products. IMO Foods Ltd.’s focus on strategic partnerships, product innovations and process efficiencies has positioned it to thrive in its unique position as Canada’s last independently owned fish cannery competing against large multi-national brands,” read the award. “Active participation in trade shows has enabled IMO Foods Ltd. to better understand the needs of their customers and has positioned them to adopt to and expand their product line and their international market,” going on to congratulate IMO and staff “for their commitment to their customers and their community.”
IMO Foods has been packing local fish for more than 40 years, producing canned Herring, Sardines, and Mackerel, using freshly caught fish from the Bay of Fundy. IMO Foods produces for many different brands worldwide. Available at retailers in Nova Scotia is their KERSEN brand.
Dick Stewart was honoured for a “lifetime of service to Nova’s Scotia’s fishing industry” as a harvester and as an organizer representing the interests of the harvesters and groups with which he is affiliated. His award read: “For 39 years Mr. Stewart served as manager of the Atlantic Herring Co-op, a position that allowed him to use and share his unequalled knowledge of the fishing industry to affect positive change and growth in the fishery and the communities where he and his members live and work… thank you for your contributions.”
More than 400 people were registered to attend the conference, Wealth through Quality, including fish harvesters, processors, industry representatives and industry suppliers. Sustainable growth of the industry through continuous improvement of techniques and equipment was the focus of the conference.
Nova Scotia seafood exports grew to $2 billion in 2017, up from to $1.8 billion in 2016; export numbers never seen in Nova Scotia before from any industry, said Minister Colwell. “For the third year in a row Nova Scotia is Canada’s number one exporter of seafood,” he said. “Thanks to the hard work of industry, and our focus on innovation and quality, the seafood industry is helping to build a secure economic future for our coastal and rural communities.”
Lobster was the top seafood export in 2017 valued at $947 million, followed by crab at $314 million, scallops at $144 million and shrimp at $126 million. The United States remains the largest market for exports at $955 million, with China in second place at $387 million and the European Union in third at $207 million.