Thursday, March 20, 2014

SENA14: Brief Items of Interest

While perusing through the multitude of booths at the Seafood Expo North America, you can learn about lots of intriguing seafood issues, though you might not have the time to fully follow up on them at the time. You only have 3 days at the Expo and that time will seem to fly rather quickly. As such, I wanted to shine a little attention on a small assortment of items I gleamed from the Expo, which I may follow up on more in the future.

1. Slavery in Thailand?
Not much was said at the Expo concerning the plight of workers in the Thai seafood industry. The Environmental Justice Foundation published a series of reports showing that immigrant workers may be being forced to work on fishing boats in Thailand. They may receive little, if any money, and may also be beaten and starved. Thailand states they have enacted some new practices to try to prevent this practice. Part of sustainability is social responsibility and terrible injustices such as this need to be ended. Let us hope Thailand puts an end to this tragedy.

2. Fish Pins
Every year at the Expo, the Wildlife Collection displays and sells their collection of pins, keychains and tie tacs. They have hundreds of designs and can custom order too. Obviously at the Expo, they show lots of their fish related items, and I think they are very cool items. They have a great diversity of designs, just about any type of fish or marine creature you might want. I don't think they get enough attention in stories about the Expo so I wanted to highlight them.

3. Pangea Shellfish Company

Oysters are the most tender and delicate of all seafoods. The stay in bed all day and night. They never work or take exercise, are stupendous drinkers, and wait for their meals to come to them.”
--Hector Bolitho, 'The Glorious Oyster' 

Pangea Shellfish Company, an East Coast shellfish wholesaler, also owns Standish Shore Oysters, an oyster farm in Duxbury, Massachusetts. They carry over 70 seasonal East Coast and West Coast varieties and have a cool display each year, showing off all of the different oysters they carry. They also stock oysters, mussels, clams,crab and sea urchin. Unfortunately, they do not offer samples of their oysters at the Expo, as I would have liked to try their Standish Shore. However, it is a local company so I should be able to find some in the near future.

4. Sea Pact
Another intriguing seafood collaboration is Sea Pact, an alliance of nine seafood distributors in North America, including Albion Fisheries in Vancouver, Fortune Fish & Gourmet in Chicago, Ipswich Shellfish Group in Boston, Santa Monica Seafood in Los Angeles, Seacore Seafood in Toronto, Seattle Fish Co. in Denver, A.C. Covert in Halifax, J.J. McDonnell in Baltimore and Stavis Seafood in Boston. Their objective is to make the seafood industry more sustainable.

One of their ways to do this is to financially sponsor projects which they feel will further the goal of sustainability. Recently, they approved grant money for two new recipients. One was a Fishery Improvement Project for lobstering in Brazil, hoping to stop widespread use of illegal fishing gear. The other was to support a project in Maine to improve sustainability of the soft shell clam, to grow local populations so the industry has long term potential.

I like the idea of this collaborative endeavor, and definitely want to delve deeper into its efforts.

5. Reading is Fun
While at the Expo, I am always sure to pick up some seafood reading, copies of several trade magazines and newspapers which are very informative about the seafood industry.You'll find periodicals such as SeaFood BusinessSeafood International, Fishing News International, Fishing Farming International, and Northern Seafood. Though primarily geared for the trade, there is much anyone can learn from the articles within these magazines and newspapers. If you are concerned at all about seafood issues, you should check them out.

If you prefer books or posters, then you could have checked out Urner Barry, which sell a wide variety of books, guidebooks, inspection manuals, posters and more, all revolving around the seafood industry. Most of these items are geared to the industry, but other interested in seafood may also find value in some of their materials.


Jane Ward said...

Not sure if you missed it, but there was a panel on the Thailand issue on Monday afternoon. Check out the International Labour Organization's Good Labour Practices for more info, or contact Audrey Young from Holland & Knight She's really interested in getting the word out there and making sure this problem gets solved.

Richard Auffrey said...

Thanks Jane, as I did miss that panel. And I appreciate the suggestions.