Seafood Choices

Seafood Expo, a Free Sample Frenzy

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Yesterday I got out of the office to spend the afternoon at the North America Seafood Expo (formerly the International Boston Seafood Show). Having never been to an expo of any kind I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I never expected anything so huge! More than 1,100 exhibitors gathered at the expo to show off their products ranging from fresh seafood and aquaculture to the latest seafood processing technologies to food safety services. Some vendors were even dressed up to promote their products; I saw at least one mermaid and one catfish suit.

It was certainly an eye-opening experience to see firsthand the variety of products that are involved in seafood processing and not to mention the decisions that must be made! On top of choosing from a whole ocean of seafood, there’s the type of packaging, mechanized sorting methods, floor material for your processing plant – the list goes on and on. Left and right men and women dressed in suits were sitting in meetings trying to capture new business. I was even asked a couple times if I was in the seafood buying business, to which I would politely say no, grab a free sample, and move onto the next booth.

That’s right, free samples. For any seafood lover, it was like walking into a dream world. There was seafood of every variety from all different countries available to try: lobster mac & cheese, clam and calamari ceviche, seaweed salad, and smoked salmon (just to name a few). My favorite probably had to be the barbeque salmon sandwich.

In addition to all this excitement, NOAA made a big announcement at the expo on Sunday regarding illegal fishing and seafood fraud. Officials unveiled a 40-page plan that includes 15 new measures to curtail this global issue. Some of the measures include more detailed labeling on all seafood imports, improved tracing methods, and a crack down on pirate fishermen. NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan said, “Illegal fishing and seafood fraud undermine economic and environmental sustainability of fisheries and fish stocks in the US and around the world. These actions aim to level the playing field for legitimate fishermen, increase consumer confidence in the sustainability of seafood sold in the US, and ensure the vitality of marine fish stocks.” You can read more about the plan here.

If you missed the expo this time around, it will be back again next year. And even if you are not in the seafood industry, it’s certainly worth checking out.


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