In the last week of April, ASC staff across five teams attended the 28th annual Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global – hosted for the first time in Barcelona. After much anticipation built up from over two years away, ASC was delighted to be back!
As the world’s largest seafood trade fair, the Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global exhibition has always been an annual highlight in the ASC calendar – and after two years of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a new location in Barcelona, this year’s event was even more eagerly-awaited than normal.
Apparently, broader global instabilities did not seem to dampen any enthusiasm to meet again and re-connect in person, with over 26,000 attendees to the exhibition over three days – the largest number of visitors to date. With around 1,550 companies exhibiting from 76 countries, the exhibition brought together all areas of the seafood industry, ranging from retailers and producers, to processors, NGOs, feed and machinery companies. To see all aspects of the industry under one roof brought home the truly global scale and nature of the sector, and the millions of people who play their part in it.
ASC CEO Chris Ninnes featured as a panel member in a discussion on human rights in seafood supply chains, hosted by FishChoice. He highlighted in particular the importance of transparency, making data collected publicly available. Chris also pointed out that collaboration needs to be the initial step to tackle the problem rather than immediately breaking ties with companies when these issues arise. The conference was also the backdrop to Chris signing a MoU with the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP), as both organisations pledged to work together towards their shared vision of a responsible aquaculture sector in Europe providing the solution to growing food demand.
For ASC, the chance to meet partners and other stakeholders again in person after so long was immensely valuable and certainly productive– staff managed to fit in more than 250 meetings in those three days! The novelty of speaking face-to-face after months spent exclusively on screens did not wear off either, and the opportunity to gather with old friends and new at ASC’s Happy Hour was a fitting way to round off the last evening of the conference.
As has been done previously, hosting a joint ASC and MSC stand worked very effectively and enabled us to create a strong presence as the first stand to be seen when entering hall 4. We are grateful to MSC colleagues for their collaboration.
With many renewed relationships, as well as new opportunities and leads to explore, the team will be busy in the months ahead and already has its sights set on SEG 2023!