Ocean Choice International
CBJ caught up with Ocean Choice International (OCI), runner-up for the 2010 Canadian Business Journal Company of the Year.
What were your thoughts on being recognized as a top company of the year, 2010?
We are extremely pleased with being nominated and recognized as a top Company of the Year. As a family owned business operating throughout Atlantic Canada with sales offices in the United States, Europe, China, and Japan, we are pleased to play a leadership role in the fishing industry.
What does it mean to you to be a top Atlantic Canadian company?
During peak season OCI employs more than 2,500 employees. OCI had its beginnings in 1997 in St. Lawrence, N.L. and we have seen our company grow over the years to be a fully vertically integrated seafood company that adheres to the highest possible standards in order to deliver Canada’s best seafood to the world. Our diverse portfolio of products and our commitment to quality have resulted in sales in excess of $250 million. We supply more than 500 customers worldwide, focusing our efforts on customers aligned with our principles. Our major customers range from globally recognized retailers and restaurant chains to major industrial seafood users and traditional foodservice distributors.
Why is it important to the company to work with organizations that protect and sustain marine resources?
At OCI we recognize that the ocean is our future and we take that responsibility very seriously. We are committed to environmental sustainability and marine stewardship in all our practices and in all of our facilities. We believe our responsibility to sustainability must extend to our actions, which is why we have taken an active role in supporting new technology to minimize fisheries impact, as well as participating in the collection of marine data for further scientific research and development. OCI is an active participant and member in almost all seafood associations and groups in Atlantic Canada and supports the activities of the Marine Stewardship Council and other non-government and government organizations and agencies focused on the sustainability of our fisheries and the protection of our marine environment. We have 70 per cent of our raw material base certified sustainable and we are committed to having all our species third-party accredited.
What process do you go through to ensure OCI products are the freshest and best?
OCI is a fully integrated seafood company, ensuring unrivalled quality from start to finish. We are located on the doorstep of the world’s cleanest fishing grounds. OCI is the largest quota holder in Canada, owning more than 90 per cent of the Canadian quota of yellowtail flounder, as well as substantial cod, ocean perch, turbot, scallops, shrimp and other species. We manage the entire process from harvesting, to processing, to marketing, exceeding guidelines for quality every step of the way. We hold ourselves to the highest harvesting and processing standards, from our relationships with experienced independent fishers to our Quality Management Program and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point approved plants and vessels. We are confident in our ability to provide the best in quality and value, meeting our customers’ needs and exceeding expectations every time.