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Pierce Fisheries Ltd.

Feature on Pierce Fisheries Ltd.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Nova Scotia Business Inc. along with its partners and sponsors will present The Nova Scotia Export Achievement Awards, an annual celebration and recognition of excellence in exporting across Nova Scotia on May 26, 2016. Pierce Fisheries Ltd. is one of ten companies that will be celebrated at the 2016 provincial EAA awards ceremony in Halifax.

Nova Scotia Business Inc. caught up with Mike Roy, plant manager for Pierce Fisheries Ltd. A division of Clearwater Seafoods LP, Pierce is a seafood processing facility that, over the years, has become a leader in innovation. It converted to an advanced individual quick-freezing (IQF) method for sea scallops, followed by a transition to Frozen-at-Sea (FAS) IQF sea scallops. Today, Pierce is also equipped with the latest processing systems for value-added products. Pierce now exports to more than 30 countries and is certified by the British Retail Consortium, a food safety and quality assurance program that ensures consistency and high standards.

Q: Can you share your company’s history in Nova Scotia?
A: Pierce Fisheries was established in the mid 1950s as a seafood processing facility in Lockeport. Founded in 1762 as Locke’s Island, Lockeport has a rich history. It was for many years a centre of trading activity with the West Indies, trading lumber and salt cod for molasses and salt. In 1986, Pierce was acquired by Clearwater Seafoods to handle and package fresh sea scallops and Clearwater’s Nova Scotia Prime Lobster product, which is raw lobster in a variety of formats. Pierce converted its scallop processing from traditional block freezing to an advanced individually quick freezing (IQF) method, and finally to frozen-at-sea IQF sea scallops. In 2012, to meet the growing demand for convenient and healthy meal options among Clearwater’s food service and retail partners, Pierce expanded to include state-of-the-art processing capabilities for value-added products, including Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops and Scallops and Sauce.

Q: What does being recognized by your local business community mean to your business and your employees?
A: For Pierce, this award underlines that we are valued as an important contributor to Nova Scotia’s economy. It also shows that we can compete on a global scale with locally sourced and produced seafood products. For our dedicated team of 272 employees, the award further strengthens morale. It’s confirmation that the work they do every day to produce the highest quality products is important to Nova Scotia’s export markets.

Q: What factors have contributed to your success?
A: Our people are dedicated, and they work with high-quality raw materials to process approximately 15 million pounds of Canadian sea scallops, Argentine scallops, and lobster every year. We export to over 30 countries worldwide.

Q: What do you consider will be key to your success going forward?
A: Recruiting and retaining quality people is key to our success. Also, as we adapt to an ever-changing business and regulatory environment, staying proactive is essential.

Q: What was your biggest learning or a-ha moment?
A: Realizing that the products we produce at Pierce are considered premium and of the highest quality in today’s global seafood industry. We are truly proud of that. Additionally, knowing that as Pierce has transformed over the years, we have played an important role in Clearwater becoming one of North America’s largest vertically integrated seafood companies.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you would give to new exporters, or companies considering exporting from Nova Scotia?
A: Learn everything you can about your markets. Nova Scotia offers premium products, and we have talented people here. However, if you want to succeed as an exporter, you also have to understand how to compete in the global marketplace and economy.

Q: And finally, what’s the best thing about being a Nova Scotia exporter?
A: We’re very fortunate to live and work in a province where we have bountiful resources at our doorstep, as well as a long and proud history of a workforce experienced in seafood. We also have access to other thriving economies through our major transportation centres, such as the Port of Halifax and Halifax Stanfield International Airport. They give us the opportunity to ship our products around the world.

Pierce Fisheries Ltd. is in Lockeport, Shelburne County. In 2015, the company was awarded the Shelburne & Area Chamber of Commerce Export Achievement Award.

Interested in export? Nova Scotia Business Inc. is dedicated to supporting the growth of business in Nova Scotia and our team of Regional Business Development Advisors is available to assess your needs and provide practical advice on taking your next steps toward growth in global markets.

Stay up to date on Nova Scotia export events by subscribing to our e-newsletter that includes upcoming trade development initiatives that you can participate in and highlights trade activity in Nova Scotia and beyond.