Halifax, November 1st, 2011 – The Lobster Council of Canada has just released a report on the state of readiness of the lobster industry relative to full traceability. The gap analysis, conducted by Cube Automation, compared the current operations of the industry to international traceability standards.
The Council’s acting chair, Léonard LeBlanc, is enthusiastic about this project: “The gap analysis is the first step of a full chain lobster traceability pilot project, involving industry participants in three provinces. The goal is to test the implementation of traceability in the lobster industry, with real life situations and challenges, from boat to plate. Our hope is that these tests will broaden the industry’s collective knowledge and understanding of the workings of full chain traceability. Another positive aspect is that lessons learned in this pilot project will be shared with interested sectors of the fish and seafood industry”.
Among the conclusions of the gap analysis, the consultants found that lobster buying companies, like restaurant chains and large food distributors, are increasingly asking for more timely and detailed information from their suppliers relative to the origin and processing of products they buy. “We know that food safety is becoming ever more crucial for anyone involved in food production. In this context, all parties want to be able to reduce the time and cost of a food recall, should it ever happen. As an exporting industry, we need to be ready to fulfill our customers’ requirements” said Mr. LeBlanc.
Participants in the pilot project include representatives from two lobster fishermen organizations, six live shipping and processing enterprises, and two brokers from New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. The next phase of the project will be the implementation of software and mechanisms to make traceability work with the participants in lobster season, most probably next spring.
As the proponent of this project, the Lobster Council of Canada is assisted by representatives of the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries of New Brunswick who are leading the project’s activities. The project was initiated by the Traceability Task Group of the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers. Funding was provided by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, as well as the Fisheries departments of the five Eastern Canadian provinces: New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Quebec.
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Geoff Irvine, Executive Director
Joanne Losier, Project Officer
Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries of New Brunswick