Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick has issued the following statement congratulating the governments of Canada and Hong Kong on lifting the raw oyster import ban from Vancouver Island:
"After careful consideration, Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety has agreed to lift the import ban imposed since April 2016 on raw oysters harvested from Vancouver Island or produced by Canadian manufacturer Pacific Rim Shellfish (2003) Corp with immediate effect.
“This is great news and the B.C. government would like to acknowledge the Government of Canada and the Hong Kong Government for their support and I know our hard working B.C. seafood sector is looking forward to resuming sales in this key market.
“British Columbia has one of the most diverse agrifoods industries in Canada, producing more than 100 seafood species, including our sustainable aquaculture sector that produces salmon, shellfish and other products enjoyed locally and around the world.
“The B.C. government has been building the market for B.C. agrifoods abroad, reaching a record $3.5 billion in exports in 2015.
“British Columbia exported about $1.1 billion of seafood in 2015 to 79 markets, an increase of 15% in value from 2014. The top five export markets for B.C. seafood in 2015 were the USA, China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Vietnam.
“In 2015, British Columbia harvested 9,100 tonnes of oysters for a wholesale value of $40.7 million.
“B.C. seafood is respected and desired worldwide as it is great tasting and sustainably harvested.
“On behalf of the thousands of British Columbians working directly in the primary seafood sector, with many in rural and remote communities, thank you to the governments of Canada and Hong Kong.”