Brussels wrap-up: Show highlights

Despite the continually struggling global economy and an erupting volcano in Iceland, the 18th annual European Seafood Exposition went off without a hitch this week. The SeafoodSource editorial team was onsite in Brussels reporting from the packed aisles of the show floor.

We weren’t alone. Major news outlets from across Europe also took notice of the three-day event. Among the outlets registered for the show were the French-language Belgian newspapers vers l’Avenir and Le Soir and radio station RTBF; the Dutch-language Belgian newspaper De Standaard; Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf; and the BBC Look North in Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

Here are a few highlights from the show:

• Prins & Dingemanse and Grant’s Smokehouse edged out 43 finalists representing 14 countries to win the grand prizes in the 10th annual Seafood Prix d’Elite new products competition on Tuesday. Prins & Dingemanse of the Netherlands captured the best new retail product for its Oyster Tasting Platter, while Grant’s, of Maryport, UK, took home the best new foodservice product for its MacKnight’s Smoked Salmon Bacon, which also won the best new foodservice product at this year’s International Boston Seafood Show Seafood Excellence Awards. The winners — which also included special awards for originality, convenience, health and nutrition, retail packaging and seafood product line — celebrated at a reception on Tuesday evening.

• In a follow-up to last year’s Sustainability of the European Seafood Industry conference, the debate over reform of the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) waged on. As the EU’s new Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki said, “The road will be a bumpy one at times, but failure of not an option.”

• Damanaki wasn’t the only fisheries official sighted at the show. Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s fisheries minister, on Wednesday talked to SeafoodSource about the CFP and about the Scottish government’s commitment to increasing consumer awareness of seafood. The country’s Eat More Fish campaign will receive a GBP 30,000 cash injection to promote and educate the public about healthy, sustainable Scottish seafood.

• Seafood buyers perusing the show’s aisles are always looking for the next big thing. According to Marine Farms, cobia is poised to break into the mainstream, while National Prawn Co. talked about its first foray into finfish farming. The company is preparing to produce amberjack, a species it said has potential to be the next salmon.

• After announcing at last year’s show that it had introduced tilapia and pangasius aquaculture standards, GlobalGAP on Wednesday talked about the progress that has been made in responsible production of both species, including the issuance of the first certificates to operations that meet its standards. HQ Sustainable, Aquamar and Trapia have met GlobalGAP’s standards for tilapia, and Binca Seafoods and Anova for pangasius.

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