Boston blog: Strengthening the Maine brand
By Steven Hedlund
Published on 11 March, 2012
5:05 p.m. — Another excellent day. Please follow us as we roam the show floor for news on Day 3 of the International Boston Seafood Show.
3:45 p.m. — Maine Gov. Paul LePage popped by SeafoodSource booth 1301 to talk, of course, about Maine seafood, but more specifically about the need to strengthen the Maine brand, a message he pushed at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum last weekend. “Maine used to be a brand,” he said. “We need to bring it back.” LePage pointed to the Maine Lobster Promotion Council and the work it’s done to maintain the reputation of Maine lobster.
LePage also talked about aquaculture. Maine’s aquaculture production is limited, consisting mainly of farmed salmon in the far eastern region of the state. He said there’s a lot of room for growth. “We got a lot of work to do,” he said.
2:40 p.m. — Micro Analytical Systems has recently or is about to add two services to testing program — Listeria monocytogenes and anti-microbobial residue. The Emeryville, Calif., company bills itself as the most comprehensive answer to to consumers’ consumers about seafood safety. “We want to be the answer. We want it to be simple, and we want to deliver a positive message,” said Chris Hodge account and marketing director for Micro Analytical System. The company started out testing for methylmercury but now tests for histamine, E. coli, Salmonella, radiation and several others.
12:45 p.m. — The finalists for the 2012 European Seafood Exposition’s Seafood Prix d’Elite new products competition have just been unveiled. There are 37 finalists this year. Click here to read the full story.
12:25 p.m. — My seminar “Stuck at 16: Influencing Consumers To Eat More Fish” went really well. Thanks to Michael Timmons of Cornell University, Linda O’Dierno of the National Aquaculture Assocaition, Roy Palmer of Seafood Experience Australia and Chris Lazicki of Performance Foodservice AFI for being on the panel. Come by Room 153C if you’d like to buy the SeafoodSource report on Americans’ seafood-purchasing behaviors at the retail level. SeaFood Business Senior Editor James Wright covered the seminar, so look for a story on SeafoodSource soon.
9:55 a.m. — After an update from Kerry Coughlin, director of the Americas for the Marine Stewardship Council, a panel of three MSC partners talked about their involvement in the program.
“A very key focus for us over the next year is how we engage the consumer. It’s disappointing, to what level we’ve engaged consumers so far. But we’re committed, and we hope consumers come along for the ride,” said Paul Uys, VP of sustainable seafood for Loblaw, Canada’s largest supermarket chain, with 35 percent of Canada’s retail seafood business.
The question of cost of third-part certification was raised by a member of the audience. “If we are not going to establish this added value, then there’s no way — absolutely no way — that fishermen are going to go out and change their practices. We explain why this premium needs to be paid, and our customers are OK with it,” said Hank Bruce of Pacifical, a tuna canner in the PNA region in the South Pacific.
8:55 a.m. — At the Marine Stewardship Council breakfast, MSC CEO Rupert Howes announced that the Western Australia rock lobster fishery has just earned MSC re-certification — the first fishery to receive certification for the third time; it was the first to be certified in 2000. “On its coal tails,” said Howes, is New Zealand hoki, one of the world’s largest whitefish fisheries; it’s not that far off from being re-certified for the third time, he said. And just yesterday, the Louisiana blue crab fishery became the third U.S. crab fishery to receive MSC certification. Howes also said he “hopes” that the Alaska salmon fishery will soon find a client so it can seek MSC re-certification for the third time.
8:00 a.m. — This morning I’ll be off the show floor. First, I’m attending the Marine Stewardship Council breakfast (where Alaska salmon is sure to be a hot topic) from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Then I’m off to moderate the seminar “Stuck at 16: Influencing Americans to eat more fish,” which runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon. It’ll be an excellent discussion, and I encourage you to drop by; it’s free to attend. My colleague, SeaFood Business Senior Editor James Wright, is covering it, so if you’re trapped in your booth you can read about it on SeafoodSource later today.
7:25 a.m. — Back at it. Day 2 of the International Boston Seafood Show kicks off in about two-and-a-half hours. Yesterday, the aisles were packed tight, and traffic on the show floor was pretty consistent from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year’s show is the biggest ever, and it, ur, shows. I’m expecting another busy day today.
Just a reminder to stop by SeafoodSource booth 1301 to “meet the editors” between 10 and 11 a.m. and 4 to 5 p.m.