Location: Marine Harvest Canada Office Parking Lot
Allpen Diving Company has been part of the Marine Harvest Family for many years. As you may know by now, Tami Brown of Allpen Diving, has been diagnosed with Leukemia; she has returned from Vancouver after receiving two months of chemotherapy and is now seeking alternative treatments which are extremely costly. Our Marine Harvest Middle Point staff has generously offered to host a Salmon and Burger BBQ next Friday, in the parking lot outside the Marine Harvest Office.
Our Community Cruiser trailer will be serving up some hot lunches and cold pop, by donation. We ask that you make plans to join in this fundraising effort and help support Tami and Rob Brown during this difficult time.
Please invite your friends and family to attend and give generously.
The mission of the Production Department is that: “Each and Every Day we Responsibly Grow our Salmon in Order to Acquire and Maintain Customers.” So how do we do this? Through basic farming principles – that’s how.
In 2009 we introduced LOF (Law of the Farm) into our operations, a concept centered on doing what’s right for the fish. Even though several of the initiatives that make up this concept are only partially complete we have already seen positive results. Since August of 2009 our Biological Feed Conversion Ratio* (BFCR) has decreased by 13%, our Economic Feed Conversion Ratio (EFCR) by 15% (through a further reduction in mortality), and our costs to stock/kg have decreased by 16%. In addition, 9 of the 11 sites harvested so far in 2010 have had better growth than in their previous crop.
So what’s next? Well like any good farmer, we not only have to do what’s best for our livestock but also what’s best for our “fields” (sites). Farming sites are not easy to come by and their condition and overall health is crucial to our fish and to our business. We have an obligation to ourselves, to the public, and to the ecosystem itself to maintain good ocean bottom conditions and a healthy environment. Through the millennia in agriculture this has been achieved through fallowing or giving a field (site) a rest for an extended period of time or even a crop.
Our new production plan now reflects this concept with several sites in each area about to receive varying lengths of “rest”. Like other parts of LOF, fallowing is a tried and true principle that will ensure our long term sustainability. We are by no means perfect and we have a long way to go, but this initiative is just the next step in walking the talk of our mission statement.
Many thanks to all the managers and staff who have helped push these developments forward.
A specially designed combination propane bbq and trailer unit is making Marine Harvest’s involvement in community events efficient, user friendly and food safe. “We designed it in-house to allow us to prep, serve, and clean up, all from the same place,” said Owen Green. “It’s a ‘grab and go’ unit that is much more convenient than our old set-up”.
The unit has large cast iron grills (especially suitable for cooking salmon!), two fridges, four sinks and built-in cabinets for storing supplies. It can carry up to 35 gallons of water. The 30 square feet of prep area and 45 square feet of serving space means that about 200 people can be served freshly prepared food in a matter of a couple of hours. The unit can be plugged into a wall and operated that way or by using a generator that accompanies it. A 10 x 20 tent completes the package.
“It’s one of a kind, that’s for sure, and it’s fun to see people’s reaction when we arrive at events,” Owen added. Since its completion almost two months ago, it’s been a hit at a variety of events already. These include both Port Hardy and Campbell River’s Relay for Life, the PAA ball tourney, and the annual company bbq.
This specialized piece of equipment has been inspected, approved, and permitted by health inspectors from the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) as required. Both the Food Safety Plan and Sanitation Plan we did has set the standard for how these requirements should be met, said Owen.
Local companies involved in the construction include Underwood Marine and Welding, who built the custom cabinets and Powerserve Energy Systems, who did the electrical work. Kal Tire and Lordco Parts looked after the rims and tires on the trailer. All the suppliers who helped out with this project worked really hard and paid particular attention to detail. It’s due in large part to their efforts that we’ve ended up with such a great result, said Owen. Not only that, Boatland has agreed to provide Marine Harvest with complimentary ice for all events that the super bbq attends.
Owen is excited about another aspect of the so-called “Charity Chariot”. It’s available for use by any Marine Harvest employee who has successfully completed the one day Food Safe course. If you or your kids are members of a non-profit organization, you can use it at your group’s fundraising event. VIHA requires that a Marine Harvest employee who is Food Safe certified be present throughout the entire event. The unit comes with its own training binder that outlines proper procedures. Onsite training and orientation is required before users are authorized to use it.
On August 20th we held a tour for some of the elders and the younger generations from Alert Bay. We held the tour in an effort to get to know each other and to give them an opportunity to see our operations up close and personal. We began by watching the staff at Swanson do a fish health sample to allow everyone to see the fish up close. We described the fundamentals of growing fish according to “Law of the Farm” and everyone took a look through the underwater camera to see the fish schooling in the pens.
Next we went to Potts Bay farm site to look at the large parent (brood) fish. Diana Pickwick explained the brood process to all of us and from there we went to Midsummer farm site for a BBQ lunch.
After lunch we went out to look at the Midsummer fish and Dean Nelson demonstrated one of our new MPI net cleaners. We showed them how these cleaners have enabled us to eliminate having to use anti-foulant on our nets and have helped increase oxygen levels in the pens which ultimately reduces the fish’s time in sea. On our way back to Alert Bay we traveled over to a bay just South of Telegraph Cove to watch dozens of killer whales feasting on the abundant salmon in the area.
It was a great opportunity to get to meet more people from The Bay. We certainly appreciate that they would take the time to come and visit us and our operations. Lots of good questions were asked and we had some very interesting discussions. We look forward to holding more tours for the elders from Alert Bay.
Submitted by Kelly Osborne, Production Manager – Broughton
Fish have long been part of Jacky Dyer’s work life and that’s just fine with her. As a Fish Technician 3 as the Sayward North hatchery, Jacky works the early shift from 4am to noon, looking after fry. “I enjoy it a lot because I have the chance to work alone and also with other people every day.” she said.
Born in Comox and a graduate of Vanier Secondary School in Courtenay, Jacky spent her summers commercial fishing. Following an injury sustained while commercial fishing, Jacky found her way to aquaculture more than 20 years ago through a newspaper ad. She worked on-site at Arrow Pass for several months and then applied for work with Stolt Sea Farm following a short contract with Fisheries and Oceans Canada doing data collection.
Jacky has lived in Sayward, just north of Campbell River, for twenty years, and has a large yard with fruit trees. Her dog, a yellow lab named Siider, keeps her company.
A borrowed Ipod that had a Bobby Darin song on it has made music a unique part of her life. Only a few weeks prior to chatting with her, Jacky told me she’d recently travelled to California to visit not only the home of 1950s and 60s music legend Bobby Darin’s in Los Angeles but Capitol Records as well. She’s the proud owner of sheet music from his big hit Mack the Knife.
She’s met new friends who are also Darin fans and the group is planning a special celebration in May 2011 for the singer’s 75th birthday.
I heard his music “and got all goofy about it,” she said with a laugh. Jacky also enjoys reading – when she’s not listening to music, that is.
By mid-2012, Marine Harvest Canada aims to attain environmental certification, giving both consumers and retail customers even more confidence in its products.
“We are certain that the operational certifications we have already earned, such as ISO 14001 and HACCP, will give us a solid foundation and provide a substantial starting point for eco-certification in the immediate future and for additional programs we choose to pursue down the road,” commented Ken Taylor, Sales Director.
“This new certification will be aimed specifically at driving high standards of environmental performance for salmon aquaculture,” said Clare Backman, Director of Sustainability.
We are close to deciding which certification we want to pursue and expect to have the contract signed by the end of this year, explained Clare.
This certification will examine the sustainability measures in place under which the fish are raised.
Further details will be provided once the formality of signing the contract is done, Clare promised.
When fully implemented, an accredited third party certifier will track the fish through its entire life cycle, from egg to box, ready for shipment to customers. It’s anticipated that each site will undergo an annual audit.
“We’re going to work really hard at keeping all sites certified all the time,” stated Clare. If one site loses its certification, it doesn’t mean the company loses its entire certification but naturally the best case scenario is to have each site constantly in full compliance.
There are two steps involved in the process. First of all, Marine Harvest applies for certification to a specific standard through the accreditation body. Following that comes the work involved in meeting all requirements specific to that particular certification. Upon completion of a thorough audit of company operations, the certification is awarded.
Ken Taylor goes on to explain that Marine Harvest Canada is very interested in the eco-certification programs that the World Wildlife Fund and the Global Aquaculture Alliance are each currently developing, however, neither of those is yet completed and there’s no firm timetable as to when they’ll be ready for accreditation through ISO 65.
This ongoing attention to consistently producing a healthy product in a sustainable way is due to a more aware consumer, said Ken. There are two main things today’s consumer now demands about their food: the first is the assurance that what they are eating is produced in a sustainable way that keeps in mind the long-term effects of how it’s brought to their tables; secondly, consumers want reasonable assurances that what they buy is healthy from a food safety point of view.
In May, Loblaw’s announced that certain seafood items carried in their stores will be required to have certification programs attached to them by 2014.
It owns Superstore and is one of Marine Harvest’s largest customers.
Ken is confident Marine Harvest will be on track to meet Loblaw’s deadline.
Positive Aquaculture Awareness (PAA) sent this blog worthy press release via email this morning.
For Immediate Release:
Campbell River – October 7th, 2010 – A landmark video released today calls into question erroneous claims of salmon extinction in British Columbia.
The video, released by Positive Aquaculture Awareness (PAA) entitled “Salmon Extinction? A Reality Check”, uses the direct words of prominent activists who have claimed BC’s wild salmon are at risk of extinction.
“These outrageous quotes of salmon extinction were spread by activists with a clear goal in mind – to damage the reputation of BC salmon farmers,” says PAA President Cory Percevault. “But this year, we have literally millions of examples swimming back to BC rivers, proving just how wrong they were.”
Percevault points to one obvious example – the Fraser River sockeye salmon return of 2010. Over the past several years, Percevault says activists have repeated claims that Fraser Sockeye are threatened by BC salmon farms, but this year the Fraser River saw Sockeye return at numbers not witnessed in over 100 years.
Other examples of failed predictions include the recent large returns of Pink salmon in areas near Campbell River, Nanaimo and Vancouver and the Broughton Archipelago.
PAA says this is the first of several videos that will quote several anti-salmon farm activists and expose their inaccuracies.
“We are thrilled that these healthy salmon returns have vindicated BC salmon farmers,” says Percevault. “Many of us in the business began raising salmon so we could help protect BC’s wild salmon for future generations and it’s great to see results like we’ve seen lately.”
Positive Aquaculture Awareness is a grassroots group of aquaculture workers and suppliers interested in promoting awareness of BC’s important aquaculture industry through education and community involvement. The new video can be seen on PAA’s website at www.farmfreshsalmon.org