Live from Boston

By

SeafoodSource staff

Published on
March 14, 2009

9:55 a.m. Sunday - Five minutes and counting to show time. It's a beautiful day in Boston - sunny and 45 degrees F. Exhibitors are putting the finishing touches on their booths, and visitors are pouring into the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

10:05 a.m. - The Global Aquaculture Alliance (booth No. 484) announced that discussions are ongoing with AQSIQ, China's food safety bureau, about testing the food-safety standards of GAA's Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) at China's shrimp and tilapia farms and processing facilities.

"This test will determine how BAP standards contribute to improved food safety within the country," said GAA Executive Director Wally Stevens.

Stevens recently returned from China, where he met with Yu Taiwei, director general of Import and Export for AQSIQ, to continue discussions that began during GAA's GOAL meeting in Qingdao, China, in October 2008.

"China's reaction to the GAA's proposal is consistent with that country's new food-safety initiatives announced this month by the government of China," said Stevens.

10:40 a.m. - Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (booth No. 433, 439) is sporting a new look. The booth is made with bamboo, which is consistent with its sustainability mantra, said ASMI marketing specialist Karl Uri. ASMI is promoting the sustainability of Alaska seafood.

"Sustainability is a big story right now," said Uri.

10:55 a.m. - Seafood marketing guru John Rowley of Rowley & Associates in Seattle is touting the high omega-3 fatty acid content of oil-rich Yukon River king and keta (chum) salmon for Kwik'pak Fisheries (booth No. 1755).

Recent tests by Bodycote Testing Group of Portland, Ore., measured an average of 4.15 percent omega-3s for chums and 4.38 percent for kings. These levels are twice, and in many cases three or four times, the levels of any other fish in the U.S. Department of Agriculture database, said Rowley. A sample of chum salmon tested in early August 2008 had a total fat content of a whopping 19.5 percent.

Yukon chums are "a very unique fish," said Rowley.

11 a.m. - New Products Contest judges, Wade Wiestling, Aiden Coburn and Jim Wallace sit down at the Culinary Demonstration Theater to begin their assessment of the 10 finalists. Winners of the best new foodservice and best new retail product awards will be announced at 3:30 p.m.

11:10 a.m. - Masashi Itoh, deputy director of the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries' international trade team, talked about the variety of seafood products on display at the Japanese Pavilion. This is the pavilion's second year at the show.

Itoh said one of the biggest challenges Japanese exporters face is familiarizing American buyers with its seafood products. "We're trying to get them to try new things," he said.

The effort is starting to pay off. Despite the difficult economic climate, Itoh said exports of some Japanese seafood products, including yellowtail and seaweed, are up this year.

11:15 a.m. - Hosea Rosenberg, executive chef of Jax Fish House in Boulder, Colo. and winner of the 2005 season of the Bravo channel's "Top Chef" is present at Oceans Alive Scallops (booth No. 1900), meeting with visitors and signing autographs. Rosenberg used Oceans Alive's product in the final episode of his winning season.

11:20 a.m. - Josh Goldman, managing director of Australis Aquaculture (booth No. 1953) of Turner Falls, Mass. says that the company's barramundi is performing well at Legal Test Kitchen in Boston, where it is featured on the menu.

"It's flying out of there," he said.

11:30 a.m. - Hiroshi Okazaki, president of Maruha Capital Investment in Seattle, and Rick Dutton, president of Westward Seafoods in Kodiak, Alaska, also talked about the challenging economic climate.

"Everyone who wakes up in the morning has to eat, but they don't have to eat fish," said Dutton. "The economy is having a huge impact on everyone's business."

Westward (booth No. 1859, 1957), which is owned by Japan's Maruha Nichiro Group, is targeting health conscious consumers, he said. One Westward seafood product making its Boston debut this year is its frozen, sashimi-grade Wild Japanese Sea Scallops, available in 1-pound bags for retail and 5-pound bags for foodservice.

11:30 a.m. - Clean Seas Tuna, a Port Lincoln, Australia, tuna ranching and fish farming company, is exhibiting at the Boston Seafood Show for the first time. Managing Director Marcus Stehr says the United States is a target market for the company's bluefin tuna, kingfish hiramasa and suzuki mulloway. Stavis Seafoods of Boston and Samuels and Son Seafood in Philadelphia are distributing Clean Seas' fish in the United States.

12:00 p.m. - Also exhibiting at the show for the first time is the non-profit marketing association for the Copper River Salmon and Prince William Sound Wild Alaska Sockeye brands. Thea Thomas, president of the CR/PWS Marketing Association, says Boston is a good venue to spread the word that fresh Copper River salmon is available through the end of July and to launch the Prince William Sound brand. SeafoodSource.com is onsite at the 2009 International Boston Seafood Show from Sunday to Tuesday. Our editors are scouring the show floor and conference rooms, continually updating the Web site with news as it happens.

1 p.m. - SeaWatch International (booth No. 423) announced Diego Mendez as the winner of its 2nd annual Creative Clam Challenge. Show attendees voted at SeaWatch's booth from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. resulting in Mendez's Clam and Chorizo Empanadas with Green Onion and Sour Cream Sauce beating Joshua Ogrodowski's Eggs Ala Caneel.

3:30 p.m. - MacKnight Smoked Foods (booth No. 614) and Azuma International (booth No. 417) were announced as the winners of the New Products Competition. MacKnight's Smoked Salmon Bagel Slice won for best new retail product while Azuma's Shrimp Sheet took home the best new foodservice product award.

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