The day dawns early! There is work to be done, in the shape of emails, before I head off to the first day of the European Seafood Exposition. At 4.30 am, there is still sense of excitement about the day even though I am a veteran of the event.

At 7.30 am everyone is tucking into their continental breakfasts and asking last minute questions. It seems we are ready. The decision is to go by taxi for day one as there are a lot of things to carry for the stand. Traffic is not too bad and we get to the grounds in plenty of time.

Seafarm’s Makiko Karasawa on the Australian stand has a big day planned with lots of pre-organized meetings and wondering how her company will fare as a finalist in the Prix d’Elite competition – oh and did I mention it was her birthday? Makiko is joined by Linda, who is filling in from their associates Berlin office as two of the Seafarm staff had flight issues following the volcanic ash crisis.

Austral Fisheries Dylan and Theo arrive in good time and get themselves acquainted with the stand and get the video rolling…and I mean rolling as you feel queasy whilst you view one of their vessels ploughing through the highs and lows of the ocean searching for Patagonian Toothfish.

The stand is ready, the show has started and the first people have arrived and we are off and running. The next time I look at the time it is approaching 2pm – where did the first 4 hours go? There is a pre-planned meeting at 2pm then there is a realization that the lunch has not arrived, so we head off in search of fuel for the body.

It is not overly busy in that there are no queues, but there is a good steady flow of people. There is an excellent mix of older regular visitors to the stand and new ones trying to establish relationships on specific products. The time moves on and the next thing you hear is “The show is closing for the day," so we start gathering up the days information and tidying up the stand so we can head off to the auditorium to support Makiko and Seafarm at the Prix d’Elite awards.

Alas, the day did not have a great ending for us and Seafarm but hearty congratulations to all the winners and finalists for all their hard work and effort. One company, Grants Smokehouse, has won two awards and you sense that they are in for a big night so make a big note not to visit them too early tomorrow…

We head for dinner as we must celebrate with Makiko and after meeting up with others and a good walk we find a terrific Japanese restaurant. We had a delicious meal getting all the nutrients that good fresh seafood offers and it is now time for some ‘shut eye’.

We return to the hotel at just after 11pm. It has been a long day, the legs are starting to feel lead-like, the eyes are tired, and the voice just a tad weaker, but a quick look at the emails indicates another early morning start is in the cards!

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Mary Fowler


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