Education

Is your seafood product really fresh?

By CCH

At this moment, I’m writing this blog from Comox, British Columbia, Canada whilst attending the BC seafood expo. I’m here to source wild caught Canadian seafood, a great deal of which is now in season. I want my company, Pacific Rich Resources Limited, to lead by example and emphasize the benefits of wild caught fish, and its seasonality. Essentially, enjoy seafood, when it is in season and at its best. Then let the stocks naturally replenish and enjoy other seasonal seafoods.

My hope, at the Expo, is to find a supplier of fresh wild halibut, black cod, salmon and possibly some other goodies. Although I am a big believer that single frozen produce is the best, there is still a huge preference for fresh produce in Hong Kong. By ‘Fresh’, I mean butchered and never frozen. A lot of the product in Hong Kong is actually ‘previously frozen’, and there is a reason for this. Fresh is difficult to get to market and if you can it is expensive. So, you get ‘previously frozen product and for most of the time, it is erroneously labeled as ‘fresh’. So be careful when buying and ask.

I have tried many times to import fresh seafood from Canada. However, there have always been issues, such as obtaining paperwork to support shipments. In saying that, the biggest issue which has always muted but never clearly expressed, has been maintaining the quality of the fish, should it be exported.

Sourcing the product is not an issue. However, as I fly to Comox in the middle of Vancouver Island, the logistical headache in getting fresh seafood from BC Canada into Hong Kong is emphasized. Comox is actually situated on the southern coast of the Comox Peninsula in the Georgia Strait on the eastern coast of Vancouver IslandBritish Columbia. It was first established by indigenous First Nations thousands of years ago, who called the area kw'umuxws (Kwak'wala, the adopted language of the K'omoks, for plentiful. It is now a popular tourist attraction due to its good fishing amongst other things. It is about a 25-minute flight from Vancouver international airport. However, most of the fishing for these BC seafood goodies are not from here, but from approximately 1,000 km further north of Vancouver Island. In fact, Dutch Harbour and Kodiak in Alaska are prolific in Salmon and they are at a Latitude 53.9.

So, let’s take salmon to explain my point, although I could dwell on black cod, which has its own issues. Salmon is usually caught in smaller artisanal boats, placed on ice and brought to shore, where it is gutted and usually headed. It is then frozen and shipped to Vancouver or Seattle for export, the latter being a much larger port. To be fair some quantities are filleted and/ or portioned and are shipped fresh to local markets on the west coast. So, all good with the frozen product which will then be shipped to worldwide markets, served as is or processed further. The fresh product off the boats is usually about two days old. After processing three. Then there is paperwork and shipment overseas. By the time the product gets to an overseas port its probably 5 days old and to the end user 7 days, if all goes well.

So, let me suggest this. If you want quality, then source single frozen sustainable seafood. At least try it and give me your feedback. If not, then go for double frozen, basically frozen, defrosted and then refrozen. With today’s technologies it is actually very good. If you still want fresh, ‘go for it’. Pay the price, feel great. BUT please try all products and styles. I would love your feedback and believe like me, you will find single frozen supreme.

 

CCH 11062019

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