Update from Brusselsby Pacific Alliance for Sustainable TunaMay 7th, 2015

Update from BrusselsAt the end of April, The Pacific Alliance for Sustainable Tuna participated in a very productive week in Brussels, Belgium. While there, Alliance members were fortunate enough to attend not only the Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global, but also the 5th European Tuna Conference. Every other year, Brussels hosts the European Tuna Conference, which coincided with the Seafood Expo perfectly, as it landed the day before. Themed, “This Time It’s Different,” the European Tuna Conference focused on the many high impact changes that the European tuna market will be facing in 2015, demanding full attention of tuna buyers, suppliers and policy makers.

With nearly 300 participants from 40 countries, the European Tuna Conference comprised 4 sessions with 12 notable experts as speakers who addressed currently trending and dynamic topics on tuna, from international trade and sustainability to social issues and different fishing challenges for various fisheries.

The Alliance, represented by the Director, had the opportunity to meet several key players in the tuna world, from NGOs and governments from other countries to tuna scientists and experts.

Following the European Tuna Conference, the Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global then began on Tuesday, April 21, and ran through Thursday, April 23. This expo is the world’s largest seafood trade fair, with more than 1,700 companies from over 75 countries exhibiting their products, services and interests in seafood. Also in attendance were international organizations and certification bodies. At the expo, member companies Grupomar and Pesca Azteca exhibited company products. Collectively, more than 25,800 buyers, suppliers, media and other seafood professionals from 150 countries attended the fair.

Some notable conferences took place during the expo and provided insight on issues like IUU, social responsibility and the importance of sustainability. The Marine Stewardship Council offered a number of conferences, such as their Global Commercial Update Meeting, where the MSC CEO, Rupert Howes, and Commercial Director, Nicolas Guichoux, gave an update on the organization’s progress and key developments over the past year. Panelists included representatives from Igloo Foods, Anova Seafood and Orkla Foods. The MSC’s quick growth and increase in credibility was noted by the conference leaders and highlighted their continuing challenge to educate the consumer on eco-labels so that traceability and information proves to be useful.

Like at the sister Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America in Boston last March, the Alliance noticed the prevalence of sustainability as a central focus. Following Brussels, we are very encouraged to continue our good work and continue reporting our findings throughout this journey.