Seafood Expo Global blog: Day 2


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
May 7, 2014

10 a.m.: Iceland is among the top 20 largest fishing nations in the world, and with only about 320,000 people living on the island, it’s no surprise that the majority of the fish caught there is exported.

Guony Karadottir, director of food, fisheries and agriculture and marketing manager for Iceland Responsible Fisheries (IRF) told SeafoodSource having the IRF certification scheme in place helps the country to capitalize even more on foreign markets. “Market access is better with the certification in place because sustainability is an important factor,” she said. “We export a lot to Germany and sustainability and the environment are really very important issues in Germany.”

So far, cod, haddock, saithe and most recently golden redfish have received the certification — chosen due to their economic significance. Mackerel would be the next most economically important species to be certified but with the struggles between the multiple countries that take part in the fishery, it hasn’t happened yet. “It’s impossible to get that species certified unless we have an agreement,” said Finnur Garoarsson, IRF project manager. “So we have to wait. I think we will reach an agreement soon. At least history says we will reach an agreement in the end.”

Herring may be the next species to bear the IRF certification.

10 a.m.: SeaFood Business Senior Editor James Wright talked to Ove Johansen, market analyst for the Norwegian Seafood Council, about cod supplies and the recently concluded skrei harvest.

10:30 a.m.: A couple of years ago, the government of Oman made a huge commitment to the country’s fisheries sector, with a large focus on the potential aquaculture market. The region has 3,165 km of untapped costal area that the government believes has huge potential for aquaculture development, Ramesh M., assistant marketing manager of Oman Fisheries told SeafoodSource.

“The government is very, very eager to increase aquaculture production, they are investing millions in this — about EUR 950 million (USD 1.3 billion).” he said.

Ramesh said while development is still in preliminary stages, a lot of investors from outside Oman are interested, including investors from Europe and the Far East. According to Ramesh, while not sure of the timeline, Oman Fisheries is working with the ministry and will have one area dedicated to aquaculture.

12 p.m.: “I’m not sure how reliable” a recent study bemoaning the decline of young lobsters in Maine is, Michael Tourkistas, CEO and president of East Coast Seafood told SeafoodSource. “If you go back there have been many reports in the past — not this one in particular — that had predicted that the landings would be going down and there would be a supply issue, and all we’ve seen is higher and higher numbers.”

However, Tourkistas said he is always concerned of any change that is unexpected and as a company we obviously try to plan ahead. Tourkistas said he personally believes the small drop in last year’s numbers (Maine landed a total of 126 million pounds in 2013 compared to 127.2 million pounds in 2012) was due to weather.

“This year will be very interesting because the temperature of the water is much cooler so what the impact will be is unknown, although through the winter we had very stable catches although the weather was colder.”

2 p.m.: Rupert Howes, CEO of the MSC, told attendees of its annual update that the future of the seas is garnering attention at the highest levels.

“It’s so clear that the oceans and seafood sustainability is going up everyone’s agenda, and increasingly the political agenda,” he said, as the 13.1 percent price premium on MSC-labeled products will attest.

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