Fresh fish in a bin.

One of six West Coast seafood inspection offices is located at BCS in Bellingham

November 16, 2019

On the West Coast of the United States, there are six official seafood inspection offices run by the NOAA Seafood Inspection Program.

One of them is located at Bellingham Cold Storage on the Bellingham waterfront.

The Office of International Affairs & Seafood Inspection at 2875 Roeder Ave. in Bellingham provides seafood inspection services for clients in the areas of applicable food safety regulations, product quality evaluation, product grading and certification, facility and systems compliance, export health and catch certification, and training and consultative services.

The inspection program operates under the authority of the 1946 Agricultural Marketing Act to provide inspection services for fish, shellfish and fishery products, issuing official health certificates for companies wanting to export their fish and fishery products to foreign countries.

According to the NOAA website, NOAA Fisheries represents the U.S. in negotiations with other countries about their requirements for seafood products imported from the United States. These negotiations often include the development and modification of certificates to accompany U.S. seafood exports. NOAA Fisheries is the competent authority within the U.S. government for issuing and signing these certificates in the United States.

In other words, some countries require health certification for imports of seafood products. Companies that want to export seafood to those countries will need to have them inspected by a NOAA Seafood Inspection Program office. On the West Coast, such offices are located in California at Long Beach and in Washington at Olympia, Seattle and Bellingham.

Convenient access to on-site seafood inspection services is another reason that many Puget Sound and Alaskan fishing fleets choose Bellingham Cold Storage. Not only does BCS provide frozen and chilled storage services and prime access to international logistics, it also affords customers access to necessary seafood inspection services.