Following the seafood industry from Brussels to Shetland

Posted by Marcus Coleman, CEO on 10 May 2016

As I zip through the French Countryside at 200mph aboard Eurostar I am reflecting on my first experience of the Brussels Seafood Expo Global. And what a great experience it was too! As anticipated, visitor numbers were down on previous years but the general mood was very upbeat with most people reflecting on the higher quality of the interactions that they were having. The show truly has a global reach with so many countries represented and their presence is most certainly a positive indicator of the health of our industry.

For Seafish, of course, it is particularly pleasing to see such a strong presence from UK organisations. There were some fantastic stands showcasing the very best products and services that the UK has to offer. On the Seafish stand we had a huge amount of interest in our responsible sourcing work, including our Risk Assessment for Sourcing Seafood (RASS) website where seafood buyers can access key information about fish stocks and ascertain the relative risks relating to how they are sourced.

But the highlight for us was the massive interest that our revised Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS) is generating. The revised RFS was launched to the UK industry in January 2016 at Westminster at an event hosted by Sheryl Murray MP. Regional launch events followed in February and March with a Shetland launch to take place in May. The Scheme is receiving widespread endorsement and support both throughout the UK and internationally and RFS has already been incorporated into the sourcing policies of Direct Seafoods, Morrison's, Waitrose and M&S with many others committed to incorporating RFS into their sourcing policies. Our RFS newsletter provides the very latest update on the scheme and anybody interested in receiving it should contact Kara Brydson.

Back in the UK after Brussels, May looks like being another busy month; the Seafish Board will be meeting in the Shetland Islands as part of its commitment to support the industry throughout the UK. The Board members will visit Shetland businesses and meet with key stakeholders as well as attend the RFS Shetland launch event.

The Shellfish Association of Great Britain holds its 47th Annual Conference and Dinner on the 24th and 25th May. I am very much looking forward to being one of the speakers at the conference. I'm sure Mr Jarrad would be only too pleased to hear from anyone wishing to attend this key event in the calendar.

And finally…..On the 27th and 28th May I'll be heading to the Aberdeen Skipper Expo where Seafish will be supporting the event. Please come and say hello on our stand if you are heading there too. The night before the Skipper Expo it is, of course, the Fishing News Awards, this year hosted at the Aberdeen Treetops Hotel. I hear that is the only awards event dedicated to celebrating the commercial fishing industry and while I wish all the nominees every success I have to declare a little bias towards my Seafish colleagues who are up for a Safety Award for our 'Sea You Home Safe' campaign. Good luck guys - you do fantastic work!