At the 2023 Seafood Expo Global America/Seafood Processing Global– which ran from 25 to 27 April in Barcelona, Spain – SeafoodSource joined forces with Emily De Sousa, the CEO of the digital educational platform Seaside with Emily, who joined SeafoodSource again as the official SEG social media correspondent, after serving in the same role for Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America.
De Sousa promotes sustainable seafood, healthy oceans, travel, culinary exploration, and the rise of pescatourism through her website and via her Instagram and TikTok social media platforms. She travels around the world to present at seminars, conferences, and forums advocating for ocean protection and seafood sustainability and has developed a wide following in the seafood industry.
SeafoodSource Editor Chris Chase sat down with De Sousa at SEG for an interview, broadcast live on Instagram, to discuss her impressions of the show.
Chase: What are your initial thoughts about the expo?
De Sousa: This show is crazy. People warned me, "Boston was big, but Barcelona is a different level." I thought I was prepared. Okay, it's going to be way bigger. There's going to be more people. The venue is a lot bigger. There's going to be more walking. I thought I was prepared and walking in the first day, and seeing them still setting up all the booths, and just how much bigger the booths are, how extravagant they are, it's crazy. I think I walked around 20,000 steps yesterday on day one. So, I'm tired, Barcelona is a workout.
Chase: Comfortable shoes. Oh, yeah. Anyone who has been here, bring comfortable shoes.
De Sousa: Sneakers only. There are no heels at this show.
Chase: I am always fascinated by the different booths. Are there any booths that you saw that you're like, ‘Whoa, that's so cool’? Or just interesting ideas you've seen on the display promoting their seafood?
De Sousa: Yeah, honestly, I feel there's a lot of cool booths that have restaurants and bars that are inside. Yesterday, I walked by the Mowi booth and they had a live band. MSC has a pretty big booth with some interactive displays on it. And Cooke Aquaculture has a crazy booth. They're doing some cool stuff with Chef Chris over there too. I love the booths with the food, so I mean, I'm a bit biased.
Chase: You don't have to name any names, but are there any products or types of seafood you've had that you thought ‘Woah?'
De Sousa: I had some kampachi yesterday which was very good. I had it sashimi-style, just raw, and then I had it grilled, and it was so good. It was fantastic. It's like butter.
Chase: I saw you yesterday at my panel, so thank you for attending. But have you gone to many of the panels? I feel that's always a struggle, we’ve got a great conference program alongside a show full of interesting stuff to see. How do you decide between those? Have you been to any of the great conferences other than mine? And what are your thoughts on some of the things you've heard about the ideas being shared?
De Sousa: I went to your panel, which I loved. I thought that was a great panel talking about marketing and communication. I love that a lot of the panelists were talking about the importance of social media and working with influencers is a very different narrative. I loved that. I was so stoked to see that have a place here. So, thank you for putting that together. But one of the other panels I went to was about alternative feeds and aquaculture. And that one was interesting. Admittedly I still find myself [feeling] new to the world of aquaculture. My academic training is in wild-capture fisheries. I’ve been working in aquaculture now for the last two-ish years, and so I've learned a lot, but I'm still learning. This session on alternative feeds had [Enthos Circular Feed Technologies CEO] Andreas [Grimminger] who does the black soldier fly for aquaculture feed, which I have heard a lot about and read a lot about, but hearing him talk about it was interesting. And Catherine [Bryar] from BioMar was giving some interesting insights on the sustainability of aquaculture feeds.
Chase: I wish I had gotten to go to that because I think aquaculture feed is a sector of innovation that's fascinating right now. There are so many companies targeting the same sort of sustainability push of how do we reduce our impact on the environment? I've seen carbon-capture, algae-based, aquaculture feed that reduces carbon emissions while also producing aquafeed, which is just amazing.
So away from the technical side of sort of the seafood bit. You’re a social media specialist. That is why we have you here. I'm interested in whether you perceive any sort of differences because I'm more familiar with the United States' social media situation. What is popular in social media in Europe? Is it different? Do you have an audience here?
De Sousa: Yeah, that's a good question. And yeah, it is a bit different. My audience is more in the United States. Even though I live in Canada, most of my audience is in the U.S. And I have a little bit of an international following in certain pockets. My family's from Portugal, and I post about Portugal a lot. So, I have an audience there. But there are some booths here and some countries that I have no experience with, I've never visited, or I don't know anything about their seafood. For example, in the Ecuador booth. I know of Ecuadorian shrimp, but I've never been there, and I would like love to have the chance to use content with some of these people to try to learn more about their communication style. And the types of things they want to see on social media too, so I can improve my following. Of course, yeah, I live in North America and want to continue to serve that base, but the seafood industry is global. And so, I want to make sure that the language that I'm speaking online and the way that I'm producing content resonates with everybody really,
Chase: Are you seeing companies here do things differently at all?
De Sousa: One thing that that I found maybe a bit different and interesting is some of the European companies here seem to be more attuned to social media than I think some of the companies in North America, which I found admittedly a bit surprising. But again, in your session, hearing some companies from Spain talking about how they work with influencers in their 20s and 30s to promote seafood, I thought, this is exactly what I advocate for, what we need to see more of.
It's not just me saying it. From that session, it sounds as though they have had a lot of success with it. So, I think the influencer marketing pieces are cool and, at both SENA and here, I am seeing a lot of curious people. I'm walking around with this camera contraption and filming people at their booths or asking them, and they're kind of like ‘Where's this going’? What is this for?' And trying to explain what I do is not always the easiest thing. I usually land on I'm a seafood influencer.
Chase: So, you're a part of SeafoodSource again. We brought you back here, which was great. I'm glad you agreed to do it because I think you've upped our social media game a little bit. I'm not very social media savvy. I admit, even though I'm a millennial, I'm bad at it. Can you kind of talk about what it's like to partner with SeafoodSource and what you've gotten out of it, and what we should be getting out of it?
De Sousa: Well, I'm super grateful for the opportunity. Again, I mean, I loved working with you guys in Boston and was so excited about the opportunity to come to this show and do it again. Of course, this is a much bigger scale. I felt honored that you guys had me back here, but I loved it. I think it's cool. As I said, I think people are excited about it. When they realize their booth is going to be on Instagram, t's going to be on Tik Tok, they want to be part of this. I think there is an appetite where people like to talk about what they're doing, right? Especially here, I feel people are doing a lot of cool stuff, and get excited to speak to you and the other editors, to be in Expo Today. They want to show off the good work that they're doing. I think all that I'm doing is providing another outlet for that, which is complementary to what you guys are already doing, just building off of the [stories] you're already writing and the work you're already doing with [showcasing] the Seafood Excellence Awards. I'm trying to support that journalistic effort, and showcase it differently; Visually, in video format, you know, that's key on social media these days, and doing all the cringy TikTok transitions. It's been fun. I feel happy to be part of the team and able to contribute to a digital format.
Chase: We're glad you decided to come back too. I've been following you on Instagram, and you've been posting some great reels, and some cool content. Also, some behind-the-scenes of the show build-up day, which not a lot of people get to see. They just see the show when it's nice and pretty. But it is just as impressive because you think there's no way they can get this ready in time, and I think that's exactly what you said in some of your posts.
I'm interested in how you maximize your time at SEG is difficult because you've got 2,000 companies. How do you plan what you see?
De Sousa: What I did yesterday was look at the floor map, then I went up one side and then came back. My plan today is to do the other side because you can't do more than that in a day. I've just kind of been wandering. This place is massive. I got lost. I came out somewhere and I was like, ‘I don't know where I am.'
Chase: Are there any seafood you've seen here that you learned something new about, or saw some new variety you didn't know about? I feel every time I come here, I learn something new.
De Sousa: I've been impressed with some of the products in the Seafood Excellence Awards, some of the finalists. Maybe not necessarily new species per se, but different ways of using species that I never would have thought. I thought that was impressive. I think that's the pinnacle of creativity and innovation in the seafood industry, seeing what people are doing and trying to push the boundaries of what seafood is, and what people think of seafood which I talk about on my channel all the time. This isn't just a luxury, center-of-the-plate protein.