Our reflection on a successful Seafood Expo Global 2023
May 25, 2023
As the world’s largest seafood trade fair, the Seafood Expo Global is a key moment in the year for us at ASC to meet our supporters – supply chain companies, brands, retailers and NGOs alike – in-person, as well as explore new opportunities with new contacts and promote responsible seafood farming through panel discussions and events. It is also a welcome chance for us to see our colleagues again!
This year’s expo was the busiest yet, with 33,000 attendees and 2,078 companies exhibiting from 87 countries, which was great to see after the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. The great turn-out was also reflected in the number of conversations we had at our ASC booth, as well as the number of meetings with existing partners over the three days – nearly 300. Once again, we joined forces with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and welcomed everybody interested in joining us on our transformative journey at our joint stand at the entrance of Hall 4. We were also fortunate to be in the same location as last year. This helped us to further streamline the experience for customers visiting the stand, and we are grateful to our MSC colleagues for their co-operation.
The show was an excellent setting for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between our CEO Chris Ninnes and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) CEO Jim Cannon. The MoU formalises a shared goal of increasing the sustainability of aquaculture production and practices around the globe, building on previous work around data sharing and information systems alignment. We look forward to seeing our joint ambitious ideas becoming reality.
Chris also participated in a panel on ‘Planning Around Uncertainty: Business Strategy for Strange Economic Times’. He highlighted how certification relying on on-site audits were impacted by the lockdowns. However, Chris showed how the pandemic also precipitated greater longer-term innovation in this area, with remote audits now possible through improved technology – representing opportunities for greater time and cost efficiencies.
ASC also participated in other discussions: Senior Director for Technical Operations Ally Dingwall’s showcased ASC’s Key Data Elements (KDE) digital traceability project as part of a panel facilitated by the Global Dialogue for Seafood Traceability (GDST). Aligning with GDST principles, the KDE project is a major new component in a growing suite of ASC assurance tools. Through the collection of key data at different points in the supply chain, the project will ultimately provide suppliers and retailers with another layer of protection, enabling greater confidence about the integrity of the products they are buying and selling.
Finally, Wednesday evening once again saw our ASC Happy Hour, a fixed point by now, allowing us to thank our partners and reconnect with them face-to-face over a drink and ASC certified canapés. The booth was humming with chats and laughter. Many thanks to our partners Regal Springs, Aquachile, Clean Seas and MOWI for offering their fantastic produce for the event!
We are already busy following up on the many leads and opportunities from our time in Barcelona and look forward to seeing where they will take us over the course of 2023 and beyond!