Editor’s picks: Common ground

Here’s a recap of this week’s must-read SeafoodSource news stories and commentaries:

• Findus Group, Birds Eye Iglo, A. Espersen, Iceland Group and Trident Seafoods teamed up to develop a blueprint for responsible seafood procurement. The result — Principles for Environmentally Responsible Fish Sourcing — is a set of commitments and best practices for sourcing seafood responsibly that all European processors and suppliers can use. The new guidelines were adopted by European Union Fish Processors and Traders Association members at a meeting in Lisbon, Portugal.

• Sourcing shrimp, particularly big-sized shrimp, at affordable prices isn’t getting any easier, illustrated SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Jason Holland in his commentary this week. Expect high shrimp prices to prevail for another two to three years, due to a voluminous imbalance between consumers’ high demand for shrimp and the comparatively low production, explained Holland. The United States has lifted its import ban on wild shrimp from Mexico, six months after the ban went into effect. But that will do little, if anything, to alleviate prices, as explained in this week’s SeafoodSource market report.

• Just five years after being established, Bianfishco is one of Vietnam’s top three pangasius producers. Now its owner, Pham Thi Dieu Hien, is poised to take the company to the next level by vastly expanding its range of value-added seafood products and ready meals, explained SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Mike Urch in his commentary this week. In the United States, the Catfish Farmers of America (CFA) is turning up the heat on Vietnam, airing anti-pangasius ads on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC. The National Fisheries Institute shot back, accusing the CFA of scaring consumers into believing that imported catfish and pangasius are unsafe to eat. NFI’s Gavin Gibbons also blogged on the subject.

• Don’t miss SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Nicki Holmyard’s account of this month’s Aquaculture Europe 2010 conference in Porto, Portugal. Philippe Paquotte of the European Commission talked about the European Union’s EUR 55 billion seafood market, the world’s most valuable — and perhaps most diverse — seafood market. Adapting to consumer preferences from country to country is a must if farmed seafood sales are to grow there, explained Paquotte.

• Check out SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Christine Blank’s interview with Jon Bell of Louisiana State University’s AgCenter, who has found himself at the center of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill controversy. Bell talked about using “smell tests” to detect oil in seafood, and why some consumers — and even a few seafood professionals — are wary of the practice.

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