Boston blog: Sen. Brown walks show floor

4:55 p.m. — Day 1 of the International Boston Seafood Show is almost over. There will be plenty more to write about tomorrow, so be sure to check back in.

3:30 p.m. — And the winners are… Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK Ltd. in the retail category for its WildWaters Gravadlax Limoncello and Dish Hospitality’s Oriental Shrimp Nest in the foodservice category. Click here to read the full story about the winners of 2012 Seafood Excellence Awards new product competition.

3:05 p.m. — U.S. Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts popped into the “Seafood Jobs in America” before hitting the show floor to sample seafood and chat with exhibitors with his wife Gail and daughter Arianna. First stop was Blount Fine Foods, where Brown talked to Todd Blount, the company’s president. Accompanied by National Fisheries Institute President John Connelly, Brown then shuffled over to visit Slade Gorton & Co., where he talked to Kim Gorton, the company’s president, and Kim’s father Mike Gorton, whose brother Slade Gorton was a U.S. senator from Washington state in the 1980s and 1990s.

Brown was then crowded by a hoard of local newspaper and TV reports. While her father was being interviewed, Arianna, who’s studying biology at Syracuse University, told me that she’s a support of sustainable seafood and conservation.

Click here to view more photos of Brown on the SeafoodSource Facebook page.

2:30 p.m. — It’s been exactly one year since the Japan earthquake and tsunami struck, and the victims of the tragedy were recognized during a moment of silence at the event “Japanese Seafood for the Evolving American Palate.” Peter Koufopoulos, acting director if the division of seafood safety for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, talked about the safety of Japanese seafood. Since 11 March 2011, 31,000 field exams have been conducted at the port of entry, and 1,250 food sampled have been taken. Of those 1,250 samples, 194 were seafood products, and not one sample analyzed contained any level of radiation, said Koufopoulos.

The event featured renowned New York Chef David Bouley, owner of Bouley restaurant, whose newest venture, brushstroke, is a kaiseki restaurant (kaiseki is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner). Click here to read SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Christine Blank’s interview with Bouley.

12:00 p.m. — Two hours into the International Boston Seafood Show, Scott Williams, manager of product development and quality assurance for BJ’s Wholesale Club in Westborough, Mass., took a break from walking the show floor to chat. The retailer recently began promoting its sustainable seafood sourcing policy, featuring it on its website and in a multi-page spread in the latest edition of BJ’s Journal. 

“Sustainability is not a competitive advantage. It’s the right thing to do,” said Williams. “We’re saying [to fisheries and farms], ‘You need to have a plan.’ And we’re working with them on that plan. We’re not just saying, ‘We’re getting out of this.’” 

BJ’s is working with the Marine Stewardship Council and Global Aquaculture Alliance to improve the sustainability of the fisheries and farms from which it sources its seafood, but it’s not committed to any one organization. 

Williams is also looking for “the next one.” Like many retailers, BJ’s leans heavily on the core species, particularly salmon and tilapia. But recently it began offering barramundi on a limited basis, and it’s selling well.  

11:40 a.m. — The second round of the first annual Shucks Maine Lobster World Series drew quite a crowd at the Shucks Maine Lobster booth, and the competition is bringing a lot of attention to the Richmond, Maine, company and its products. Each chef is required to use Shucks Raw Whole Shucked Maine Lobster and has an hour to prepare his or her dish and wow a panel of three judges. First up was David Quintana of Kobe’s Kreations in Charlotte, N.C. “I was very happy with how my dish [Smoked Lobster Roll] turned out,” he said.

11:25 a.m. — Canadian Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield also dropped by SeafoodSource booth No. 1301 for a quick chat before visiting the numerous Canadian companies exhibiting at the International Boston Seafood Show. Ashfield talked about the importance of independent, third-party sustainability certification for Canada’s fisheries when asked about the Newfoundland and Labrador snow crab fishery seeking Marine Stewardship Council certification. Several of Canada’s fisheries are MSC certified.

“For a fishery to be successful, it’s important to maximize certification,” he said. “It’s a major benefit. It’s costly, but you have to bear the bad with the good. But, in the end, it’s a good thing.”

This is the minister’s fourth time at the show.

11:15 a.m. — The Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition officially launched its website,, on Day 1 of the International Boston Seafood Show. Mike Voisin of Motivatit Seafoods in Louisiana, Chris Nelson of Bon Secour Fisheries in Alabama and Joanne McNeely from the Gulf & Southeast Fisheries Foundation stopped by SeafoodSource booth No. 1301 to talk about the website and the progress that the coalition has made in its inaugural year.

“We’re trying to regain market share,” said Nelson, when asked what the coalition’s No. goal is for 2012.

“We’re walking around telling buyers that consumers are not as concerned [about the safety of Gulf fisheries] as they think they are,” added Voison.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in mid-2010 marred the reputation of Gulf seafood. But, according to a recent survey of 1,800 Americans, 70 percent are “very comfortable” with eating Gulf seafood, a clear sign that Gulf seafood’s reputation is improving among consumer, said McNeely.

10:55 a.m. — After talking to Scott Nichols of Verlasso™, I made my way over to the Scottish Pavilion to chat with Dave Sanderson, general manager of the Scottish Salmon Producers Association. Sanderson also talked about the need to distinguish salmon in the marketplace as lower prices open up new markets and expand sales.

“We have a reputation for quality,” said Sanderson. We’re not trying to compete head-on as a commodity. We need to stand out.”

Scottish salmon exports to the United States jumped an impressive 36 percent in 2011, the country’s largest-ever year-on-year increase. The United States is Scotland’s largest export market, a position it overtook from France in 2010.

“There’a still room for growth [for Scottish salmon] in the U.S. market, especially with value-added and smoked salmon products,” added Sanderson.

10:35 a.m. — The need to develop “a new tier of salmon” is greater than ever, said Scott Nichols, director of Verlasso™. This year, a lot of salmon will come on the market as production increases worldwide and prices stay low or go lower. A a result, retailers and restaurants will be looking for a higher-quality salmon to set themselves apart from the competition.

“There’s a new tier of salmon coming on the market,” said Nichols. “It will be a way for retailers and restaurants to distinguish themselves and drive traffic to their counters or their restaurants. I continue to believe that we represent a new category of salmon.”

This fall, Verlasso™ salmon — a brand and trademark of AquaChile, one of world’s largest salmon-farming companies — rolled out its premium “harmoniously raised” salmon (fresh fillets and whole, gutted fish) in the U.S. market. The fish, raised in southern Chile and processed at AquaChile’s facilities, are fed a feed that achieves a fish in-fish out ratio of 1:1.

9:45 a.m. — Fifteen minutes until the 2012 International Boston Seafood Show opens. The aisles are already beginning to fill up, as exhibitors make last-minute adjustments to their booths. Remember to drop by SeafoodSource booth No. 1301 with news tips.

8:40 a.m. — Just received word that the Louisiana blue crab fishery has earned Marine Stewardship Council certification. It’s the United States’ third crab fishery and the world’s fourth to receive the distinction. Click here to read the full story.

Also, SeafoodSource Assistant Editor April Forristall has just posted her first blog entry from Boston, and it’s pretty amusing. Click here to read it.

Sunday, 8:05 a.m. — It’s a beautiful day here in Boston, and temperatures are forecasted to reach 60 degrees F, which is high for this time of year. Daylight savings kicked in overnight, turning clocks ahead by an hour. So if you’re dragging a bit this morning, you’re certainly not alone. The SeafoodSource editorial team is setting up in booth No. 1301, and in less than two hours visitors will be pouring onto the show floor. So check back here regularly for free updates from the show floor. Both Assistant Editor April Forristall and I will be blogging through 5 p.m., as are SeafoodSource bloggers Chuck Anderson and Roy Palmer.

6:20 p.m. — Off to the National Fisheries Institute’s Chowder Party now. Hope to see you at the International Boston Seafood Show on Sunday. Please drop by SeafoodSource booth No. 1301 to say “hello” or to pass along news.

5:55 p.m. — Nissui President and CEO Naoya Kakizoe accepted an award from SeaShare for donating 5 million meals to the Bainbridge Island, Wash., nonprofit, a hunger-relief organization that links seafood companies to food banks across the United States. The award was presented during a reception at the Seaport hotel by John Garner, VP of sales for Trident Seafoods and president of the SeaShare board, and Terry Shaff, president of Unisea and a SeaShare board member. (Click here to view a photo from the event.)

4:15 p.m. — On the eve of the International Boston Seafood Show, Phillips Foods announced a partnership with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) to support fishery improvement projects (FIPs) worldwide. As part of the partnership, Phillips will donate USD 0.03 per pound of its finfish sales to SFP to fund FIPs. Additionally, sales of products under the Seawings brand (Phillips’ exclusive seafood brand with Sysco Corp.) will trigger a USD 0.03 per pound donation to SFP. The Baltimore-based company, one of the United States’ largest swimming blue crab importers, also presented SFP with a USD 5,000 check to kick off the partnership. (Click here to view a photo from the event.)

“It’s a great partnership, and it’s a model that I hope other fisheries follow,” Phillips CEO Stephen Phillips told SeafoodSource just prior to the press conference at the Westin hotel announcing the partnership.

“Steve has done such groundbreaking work in this industry. He’s taken ownership,” added SFP CEO Jim Cannon. “It was a very good fit for us, and I encourage all sectors to look at the work that the Crab Council has done.”

Phillips is one of several members of the National Fisheries Institute’s Crab Council, and as a member the company donates USD 0.03 per pound of its crab sales to the council.

Saturday, 1:35 p.m. — The SeafoodSource and SeaFood Business editorial teams are here in Boston, setting up for tomorrow’s event. Just a reminder to drop by SeafoodSource booth No. 1301 or SeaFood Business booth No. 1865 to say “hello” or to pass along news.

Friday, 11 a.m. — Less than 48 hours to go until the 2012 International Boston Seafood Show and Seafood Processing America open!

As my fellow editors and I gear up for the show, and I’d like to take the opportunity to remind you that and SeaFood Business magazine are your official news sources for the International Boston Seafood Show and Seafood Processing America, both with six editors on the ground, scouring the show floor and conference rooms at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center for news. Joining me are SeaFood Business Editor and Associate Publisher Fiona Robinson, SeaFood Business Senior Editor James Wright, SeaFood Business Assistant Editor Melissa Wood, SeafoodSource Assistant Editor April Forristall and SeafoodSource Content Production Coordinator Emily Paquin.

Got news? Please feel free to stop by SeafoodSource booth No. 1301, SeaFood Business booth No. 1865 or the Press Room, which is located in Room 050 adjacent to registration. Or just drop by to say “hello.” SeafoodSource is holding “meet the editors” hours on Sunday and Monday from 10 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 5 p.m. and on Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m.

SeafoodSource is publishing a special “show edition” of its newsletter beginning on Sunday and running through Wednesday, and both April and I will be blogging each of three days of the show.

The SeaFood Business editorial team, for the 11th consecutive year, is publishing a show daily each of three days of the show. Pick up your copy from one of the bins located near registration or by one of the entrances to the show floor.

As usual, there’s a lot going on at the show. Two of the more popular events are the Seafood Excellence Awards new products competition, the winners of which will be unveiled on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at the Culinary Demonstration Theater, and the Oyster Shucking Contest on Sunday at 3:30 p.m., also at the Culinary Demonstration Theater. SeafoodSource will be the first to announce the winners. Click here for a rundown of show highlights or here for more detailed information about the show, including show hours, shuttle schedule and list of exhibitors.

We know how busy you’ll be over the next three to four days. So check SeafoodSource regularly for free updates from the show floor and conference rooms. Welcome to Boston, and enjoy the show!


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500