Fisheries Council of Canada conference tackles biggest issues facing Canadian seafood sector

The Fisheries Council of Canada, a trade group representing the Canadian seafood industry, hosted its annual conference from 2 to 3 October in Ottawa, with guest speakers tackling trade, environmental and labor issues affecting the sector.

The panel discussions and presentations at the conference “reflected how the industry can thrive in a time where there’s uncertainty surrounding trade, the environment, and consumers,” FCC President Paul Lansbergen said in a press release.

“The official theme of the conference, ‘Delivering Seafood to the World,’ reflected this, because to keep delivering high-quality Canadian fish and seafood to international and domestic plates, the industry is going to have to find a way to flip the tables on obstacles and convert them to opportunities,” he said.

Partnership will be key to the continued success of the Canadian seafood sector, Lansbergen said, and a panel titled “Building Good Partnerships” focused on ways the industry and environmental groups can overcome conflict, forge trust, and built durable partnerships. Participants in the panel included leaders from the Canadian Boreal Forest Initiative, the Mining Association of Canada, and the David Suzuki Foundation.

In another panel, executives from Nourish Food Marketing, Alibaba, Loblaws, and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership discussed food trends. Topics touched on included consumers’ growing desire for product knowledge, Generation Z’s willingness to engage in consumer activism, the rising popularity of plant-based products, and consumer preferences for products based on their feelings toward animal welfare, the environment, and their health.

Jake Rice, chief scientist emeritus at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, gave a presentation about climate impacts and adaptations and their effect on Canada’s fisheries. Canada’s fisheries sector has a lower carbon footprint compared to most of its international competitors, Rice said. 

“The evidence about the carbon output of Canada’s fisheries sector reinforces FCC messaging about the good environmental and fisheries management practices of the sector that build on Canada’s world leading status in [Marine Stewardship Council] certification,” Lansbergen said.

Also at the conference, Karl Schamotta, the chief market strategist at Cambridge Global Payments, discussed potential economic and trade headwinds that lie ahead for Canada, and how companies can adapt to mounting economic turbulence. Kenneth Paul, a representative of the Assembly of First Nations, encouraged the seafood industry to First Nations as business partners. And Sherry Scully, director of learning and organization development for the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship, gave a talk about workforce development and youth engagement in the seafood sector.

“All in all, the FCC Annual Conference keeps demonstrating value to members by attracting a who’s who of the industry and its supply chain, while offering valuable information sessions,” Lansbergen said.

Photo courtesy of Fisheries Council of Canada


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