A new lobster quality initiative between Nova Scotia and Tmall-Alibaba, an online retail company in China, will set a premium quality standard for exported Nova Scotia lobster. Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell announced today, Feb. 15, that Nova Scotia has signed a memorandum of understanding with the company, to help provide premium quality Nova Scotia lobster to growing online markets in China. “Nova Scotia is known worldwide for its premium quality lobster and seafood, all harvested from the cold and pristine waters of the Atlantic Ocean,” said Mr. Colwell. “This agreement will establish a supply chain of Nova Scotia lobster to our largest market, while raising the quality standards in our lobster and seafood industries even further.” The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture solicited interest from qualified Nova Scotian lobster shippers. Three shippers were selected to take part in the pilot project. They are: Gidney Fisheries Ltd., Centreville, Digby Co. Nautical Seafoods Ltd., Parkers Cove, Annapolis Co. Fisherman’s Market Intl. Ltd., Bedford. “We are honoured and excited to be a part of the upcoming live lobster quality export project between Nova Scotia and Tmall-Alibaba,” said Robert Mac Donald, Gidney’s president and general manager. “As a global exporter of live lobsters we see this as an opportunity to showcase our superior lobster quality to consumers through Tmall-Alibaba’s assistance and dominance in the e-commerce marketplace.” Through the agreement the suppliers have committed to sending 300,000 quality-certified live lobsters as the beginning of a long-term quality program. To reduce mortality issues associated with long-haul export, variable quality, and handling issues, Perennia, a not-for-profit corporation with expertise in food quality and safety, has been asked to put a strict quality certification procedure in place. The procedure will include a quality standards manual, a training program and regular audits at participating export plants in Nova Scotia and the receiver sites in China. Nova Scotia is the primary supplier of live lobster from Canada. In 2015, the province exported $113 million worth of lobster to China. Overall seafood exports to China exceeded $210 million.