BIG NEWS - We now freeze our scallops at sea!!
First, a little back story.
We are a freezer boat. This means that we can flash freeze our catch within hours of being caught, preserving the flavour and texture of the prodcut as if it were fresh out of the water. We freeze all our other products including prawns and salmon. However, there are different regulations for bivalve shellfish (species with two shells attached by a ligament). They are more prone to biotoxin and sanitary issues and there are many additional regulations for handling, processing and packaging to ensure food safety. One of those regulations require all bivalves to be processed by a federally licensed processing facility.
We have been coordinating with our DFO representatives and CFIA for years hoping to get permission to freeze our scallops at sea. Until recently, it was a hard no. This means that we need to deliver our catch daily to the plant. This adds several hours on to our already long days as well as a lot of extra fuel travelling to and from the plant each night. Scallops is already a labour and cost intensive fishery, this process is just cherry on top of the cake.
Luckily, CFIA came out with a new Food Safe Regulation. With this new regulation, fishing vessels have been going through the processed of becoming CFIA certified for certain acuities. One of those, for example, was certification required to process and freeze prawns at sea (something we were already doing but now needed to be certified to continue). With the support of industry representatives, we went through that process, which then opened the way for us to do the same for scallops. After years of planning and conversations, months of paperwork, and some time to figure out the process, we are now officially CIFA certified and freeze our scallops at sea.
While our scallops were amazing before, freezing at sea takes them to a whole new level. We can taste the difference, can you?
Melissa Collier in the freezer hold (-30 C) with a stack of frozen-at-sea scallops.