The 30th Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global  in Barcelona.

The 30th Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global in Barcelona.

Photo: Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global.

Live from the Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona

Join WeAreAquaculture as we share live updates from Barcelona, as we attend the world's biggest seafood industry event from 23-25 April 2024!

See you in 2025!

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global 2024 closes it doors in Barcelona.</p></div>

Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global 2024 closes it doors in Barcelona.

Photo: WeAreAquaculture.

The 30th edition of Seafood Expo Global (SEG24) has ended and so has our liveblogging of the trade event. The biggest in the history of SEG has been full of interesting conferences, talks, and, best of all, face-to-face meetings, so there are still things to write about that you can read in the following days.

Thank you all for your attention during these three days and for your visits to the stand that WeAreAquaculture has shared with our colleagues from AquacultureTalent.

One day less for the 2025 edition, see you next year in Barcelona!

Oman focus on fisheries and aquaculture

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Salim Al-Ma'mari, Group Director of Investments at FDO talks with Ruben B. Jørgensen and Marta Negrete from WeAreAquaculture. </p></div>

Salim Al-Ma'mari, Group Director of Investments at FDO talks with Ruben B. Jørgensen and Marta Negrete from WeAreAquaculture.

Photo: Fisheries Development Oman.

One of our last meetings at this year's Seafood Expo Global was at the stand of Fisheries Development Oman (FDO), the investment arm of the Oman Investment Authority in the fisheries sector. As the Sultanate is committed to boosting its fisheries and aquaculture sectors, they have been in Barcelona presenting their sustainable seafood products and solutions.

FDO advocates responsible and sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices, integrating cutting-edge technologies and methods to ensure care for the environment. Committed to Vision Oman 2040, FDO fosters economic competitiveness while preserving marine ecosystems and supporting local communities.

The seafood sector is set to be an important pillar of the country's economy in the coming years and WeAreAquaculture has been talking about it with Salim Al-Ma'mari, Group Director of Investments. Stay tuned because we will be reporting on this interesting conversation very soon.

French companies win top prizes at this year's awards

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Parcs Saint Kerber and Algolesko, winners of the 2024 Seafood Excellence Global awards.</p></div>

Parcs Saint Kerber and Algolesko, winners of the 2024 Seafood Excellence Global awards.

Photo: Seafood Expo Global.

Two French seafood companies - Parcs Saint Kerber and Algolesko - scooped the top prizes in the 2024 Seafood Excellence Global awards - for best retail product and best HORECA product.

The winners were selected from a field of 40 finalists in this year's competition, which recognizes the best products exhibited at at Seafood Expo Global each year.

The upside of alternative feed ingredients

<div class="paragraphs"><p>From left: Hans Erik Bylling (Aller Aqua), Marye Musson (Matorka), Michel van Spankeren (Protix) and Flavio Corsin (Aqua-Spark)</p></div>

From left: Hans Erik Bylling (Aller Aqua), Marye Musson (Matorka), Michel van Spankeren (Protix) and Flavio Corsin (Aqua-Spark)

Photo: WeAreAquaculture.

In the Expo's penultimate conference session, a panel of aquaculture experts gather to discuss the benefits of alternative feed ingredients beyond sustainability.

Moderated by Aqua-Spark's Flavio Corsin, the panel features Maryke Musson, COO of Icelandic Arctic char producer Matorka (you can read WeAreAquaculture's recent in-depth interview with Maryke here), Michel van Spankeren of insect producer Protix, and Hans Erik Bylling, CEO of Aller Aqua.

Asked about the potential for alternative ingredients, Hans Erik Bylling says "Insect protein has to come in line with high-quality fishmeal, but we would like to have as wide a basket of ingredients as possible, so we certainly want more."

"We need to mitigate the risk of our reliance on what we call the traditional ingredients... now we've got the ability to identify and utilise all sorts of nutrients in different ingredients. We're tapping into the circular economy and also waste utilization," says Musson.

"We can now access these nutrients that are not only better for the fish, but better for the environment, for the business, and the consumer," Musson adds.

On insect protein, van Spankeren says "it's very natural for fish to have insects in their diet."

How important is a good feeding strategy for a fish farmer like Matorka?

"Within a feed strategy, you've got a long list of priorities, which vary depending on your location, your access to raw materials, the species you farm. But for us the nutritional value of the feed is the number one priority... we're looking at ways of boosting their immune system and resistance to disease. Every aspect of the feed strategy is closely linked to raw material choice, to get that magic mix of the right nutrients," says Musson.

"The feed is the most important thing for the fish farmer, and is also the highest cost in many cases," says Bylling.

"We have to focus on the fish, to ensure healthy fish with a strong immune defence... Other protein sources are needed," he says.

How do feed formulators balance the costs of including new feed ingredients?

"There are different price levels for insect meal around the world, so we can find it. But the volume has to go up. We also have a lot of restrictions in our formulation to ensure we have a high-quality feed. We're trying to be smart and innovative, and we are in many cases able to get a higher price for our feed than some of our competitors," Bylling says.

Bylling says Aller Aqua has been conducting trials utilising insect ingredients, with promising results. "It's very exciting, it shows that insect ingredients are working."

"Fifteen years ago, when I got into aquaculture, insect ingredients for feed were just an idea. But today we have multiple operators around the world, with Protix one of the bigger ones, producing 15,000 tonnes of live larvae per year".

At that time, there was no machinery you could source, there was no knowledge about commercial production of insects, van Spankeren says.

Since then, scientific trials have shown the safety and efficacy of insect-based ingredients, but now it needs to be taken to the next level at scale, he says.

"We will have trouble in the coming decade to come to price parity with these commodities that are produced in a completely different way," he notes, noting that while consumers support sustainability in principle, price remains the deciding factor at the supermarket.

Bylling says that sustainability-conscious farmers are increasingly asking about alternative feed ingredients, but reiterates that insect protein still needs to scale up to help it become a more cost-effective alternative.

Winning consumer trust and confidence in farmed seafood that has been raised on alternative feed ingredients is also important, the panel agrees. Giving the right information is critical, says Musson, in shaping consumer perceptions: "We need to communicate the nutritional, environmental and in some cases ethical benefits of using these ingredients for the consumer," she says.

Women in Seafood networking

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Networking and conversation to close Day 2 of the Seafood Expo Global at a special Women in Seafood event.</p></div>

Networking and conversation to close Day 2 of the Seafood Expo Global at a special Women in Seafood event.

Photo: WeAreAquaculture

That's a wrap for Day 2 of the Expo, marked by a special Women in Seafood networking event to round off another action-packed day in Barcelona.

The networking event, organised for the first time this year, was a welcome opportunity for women from every sector of the seafood business to meet and connect!

We'll be back for the final day of the Expo tomorrow with more live coverage, so stay tuned for more liveblogging from WeAreAquaculture!

Traceability for exporting seafood into the US market

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Panellists discuss traceability requirements and regulatory pitfalls for seafood imports to the US.</p></div>

Panellists discuss traceability requirements and regulatory pitfalls for seafood imports to the US.

Photo: WeAreAquaculture

Now we tune into a useful session for seafood producers hoping to export to the USA, taking a deep dive into regulatory pitfalls and traceability requirements.

The panel highlights that the NOAA and FDA require different traceability records - and by January 2026, the FDA will implement stricter traceability requirements for all seafood imports, including processed seafood - the "FSMA" rule.

NOAA covers 16-19 species, but FDA covers all seafood species for imports, say the panellists.

"Manufacturers sometimes don't even know they're on an import alert list," says FDA Regulatory and Strategic Consultant Domenic Veneziano. The import alert system prevents potential rule-violating products from distribution in the US, he explains.

Core to the new FDA FSMA rule is the need for seafood producers to maintain records of "Key Data Elements" (KDEs) associated with specific "Critical Tracking Events" (CTEs), and be able to provide this information to the FDA within 24 hours if requested.

Panellist Heath England, President of Trace Register, points out that the key information that has to be transmitted along the chain is the "TLC", the traceability lock code, that enables the US authorities to track the product back to its original producer.

"That traceability lock code has to stay with that product all the way to the consumer," he says.

The panellists also point out two pitfalls for seafood importers to the US that have received significant media attention recently: the ban on Russian salmon, cod, pollock, and crab, and the worrying question of forced labour in seafood supply chains.

Benjamin England, CEO of FDAImports, points out that if the US authorities find evidence of forced labour in the supply chain, the imported goods are automatically seized, and products originating in some provinces of China are automatically presumed under US law to involve forced labour.

The panellists also say that forced labour is also a problem for imports of aquaculture feed, but highlight the challenge of tracking the origins of the individual feed ingredients

"Traceability is going to be a way to enforce regulations on forced labour," says moderator Sergio Lozano Jr. of Alpha Brokers Corp. It's also a way for processors to protect themselves from importation pitfalls, says England: "Knowing your supply chain has become even more critical."

The panellists also point an upcoming trend in regulation that importers should be aware of: the thresholds for PFAS, or "forever chemicals" in seafood, which is under increasing scrutiny within the US, at both state and federal level.

Scottish salmon gets a boost from France's updated "Label Rouge"

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Tavish Scott, Mairi Gougeon, Su Cox at the&nbsp;Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global in Barcelona.</p></div>

Tavish Scott, Mairi Gougeon, Su Cox at the Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global in Barcelona.

Salmon Scotland

Another agreement has been made official during the Barcelona expo, as the prestigious French "Label Rouge" quality mark is updated to include larger salmon sizes of between 6-8 kg - good news for Scotland's salmon sector exports.

Economic outlook for 2025 and beyond - keynote

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Mark Blyth, William R. Rhodes Professor of International Economics at Brown University, in his presentation "The Economic Outlook for 2025 and Beyond".</p></div>

Mark Blyth, William R. Rhodes Professor of International Economics at Brown University, in his presentation "The Economic Outlook for 2025 and Beyond".

Photo: WeAreAquaculture.

"Tariffs are going to come back into fashion," says this year's keynote speaker, Mark Blyth, William R. Rhodes Professor of International Economics at Brown University, in his presentation "The Economic Outlook for 2025 and Beyond".

In a lively presentation peppered with jokes alongside expert economic and political insights, Blyth is providing a high-level view of the short, medium and long-term issues impacting the international seafood industry.

"If the US puts up tariffs, everyone loses, but it hurts itself the most," says Blyth. However, tariffs will affect Asia the least, he says.

Switching focus to Europe, he says EU countries are still struggling in the wake of the financial crisis. "A lack of joined-up capital markets limits private investment" and "EU Fiscal Rules further hurt long-term investments", he says.

In European seafood trends, Blyth believes "High-end consumer demand will hold up, but mass consumer demand will rely ever more on frozen product and it will get more expensive." Blyth expressed skepticism about projected European growth of CAGR 4%.

Regarding inflation, Blyth says that US and EU labour markets will get tighter, and climate change is going to impact food webs, including seafood, increasing costs.

This cocktail of factors is likely to accelerate automation, Blyth says.

"All of this - tariffs, deglobalisation, populism - incentivize automation," says Blyth, as labour will no longer be cheap.

How will this incentive to automate play out in seafood and aquaculture? Blyth uses the example of a how an AI-augmented aquaculture system could have a significantly reduced carbon footprint, recycling its waste and achieving optimal nutrition and oxygenation, fast alert of biohazards or bacterial infection, and homeostatic monitoring down to the level of individual fish at scale.

“It's not difficult from a computational point of view, only from an engineering point of view," he says.

Second day at Seafood Expo 2024 off to a great start

Day two kicked off with even more visitors than yesterday. We began the day with the news that Apromar and Optimar have signed an agreement to validate an electric stunning system for giltheads, seabass, and seabream raised in Spanish Mediterranean farms.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>You can find WeAreAquaculture in Hall 1, Booth B508.</p></div>

You can find WeAreAquaculture in Hall 1, Booth B508.

Photo: WeAreAquaculture.

That was a successful start to this year's Seafood Expo Global, after a busy first day of meetings, presentations, discussions and discovery for the thousands of visitors and exhibitors participating.

If you're at the Expo tomorrow, please drop by to say hello at the WeAreAquaculture booth in Hall 1, B508 - but if you aren't attending this year, we will continue liveblogging from the event, so stay tuned!

Seafood finance: risks and opportunities

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Panellists at the Sustainable Seafood Finance session.</p></div>

Panellists at the Sustainable Seafood Finance session.

Photo: WeAreAquaculture

15:00 Now we move onto one of the main events of the day, focusing on the world of seafood finance, in a session looking at the risks and opportunities for financial institutions and seafood sector companies.

Moderated by Lucy Holmes (WWF US), this session features representation from leading banks, asset managers, impact investors, companies and thought leaders active in sustainable seafood finance, with panellists Elizabeth Beall (Finance Earth), Adam Brennan (Thai Union), Emily Claire Faubel (Rockefeller Asset Management), Rachel Harris (Standard Chartered Bank), Karla Martinez (UNEP FI) and Andrew Russell (Mars Petcare).

Introducing the session, Lucy Holmes highlights that two-thirds of globally listed companies are exposed to impacts and risks related to ocean health.

Karla Martinez sets the scene on why financial institutions should focus on the sustainable blue economy. "There's a lot of risk related to inaction," says Martinez. What can they start by doing? Martinez points to the work being done to bring together financial institutions in this area through the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).

Emily Claire Faubel discusses the Rockefeller Foundation's ocean engagement fund: "we're looking at what we call 'improvers'... those who are willing to future-proof their business model".

Adam Brennan, chief sustainability officer for Thai Union, introduces his company's "Sea Change" strategy, which encompasses sustainability goals focusing on both people and planet, encompassing key areas such as human rights, carbon emissions throughout the supply chain, responsible wild-caught seafood, and responsible aquaculture. Brennan says "I truly believe the investment community has a key role to play in levelling up the industry but also creating a level playing field as well".

"Investors are hungry for information, they're hungry for visibility," Brennan adds, saying that investors want more disclosure so they can hold seafood companies accountable, for example through risk assessment tools like the GRI Standards, the Carbon Disclosure Project, the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD).

"I'd really encourage the investment community to harmonize how they're assessing risk," he says.

Elizabeth Beall of Finance Earth says her organization was founded one year ago, motivated by “a real need to be doing more to make projects investment-ready." With input from partners including Mars, Cargill and Skretting, Finance Earth operates a volume-based fee model for Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs).

Beall also announces the launch of the first project financed through the fund, located in Chile. Finance Earth are also in "advanced discussions" with other projects in Peru, China, Honduras, and India, she says. The organization is also seeking further finance partners to get involved.

Hidden risks in sustainable seafood

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Alf-Gøran Knutsen, CEO of Kvarøy Fiskeoppdrett, speaking during the session: "Do you know your hidden risks? A broader view ie increasingly essential to produce sustainable seafood"</p></div>

Alf-Gøran Knutsen, CEO of Kvarøy Fiskeoppdrett, speaking during the session: "Do you know your hidden risks? A broader view ie increasingly essential to produce sustainable seafood"

Photo: WeAreAquaculture

14:00 Now the focus switches to the "hidden risks" in producing sustainable seafood, in a session which features input from panellists Luciano Pirovano, sustainable development director for Bolton Food, Alf-Gøran Knutsen, CEO of Kvarøy Fiskeoppdrett, and DNV's Stefano Crea and Xaviere Lagadec.

Is sustainability different for a company working in the seafood industry than in other industries? "I'd say it's even more important," says Luciano Proviano, given the global reach and complex supply chains involved.

Calling sustainability “a very hot topic in seafood,” Proviano points out that Bolton Food is "the first company in the world to have a multiple-country agreement with Oxfam.”

He explains how his company has been working with advisors from Oxfam to develop new policy structures focused on four key themes in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Human rights policy, including a living wage in the seafood sector, a code of conduct for vessels, a due diligence management system, and grievance mechanism, so that workers in the supply chain can report human rights and labour abuses and other problems.

"We are a consumer goods company, and our final boss is the consumer," says Proviano. "Sustainability is a trend that will last."

What value does a structured approach to sustainability have for companies, and how about smaller companies? asks the moderator.

Knutsen says sustainability is also possible for smaller companies, "but you have to be structured to do it... standards have to be driving the companies forward. The organic standards, for example, have stayed the same for too many years. For an industry like the salmon industry that's continually evolving, it's important to also evolve the standards."

Traceability: it's not just sustainability

12:00 The focus on traceability continues now with the discussion "Traceability: it's not just sustainability", moderated by Richard Stavis from the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Richard Stavis introduces the session "Traceability:&nbsp;it's not just sustainability" at Seafood Expo Global 2024.</p></div>

Richard Stavis introduces the session "Traceability: it's not just sustainability" at Seafood Expo Global 2024.

Photo: WeAreAquaculture.

Panellist Lisa de Jager (DNV) notes the challenge of "stitching global models together”, but emphasises the importance of traceability in conferring social licence to operate. She says that DNV fully supports the GDST: "We urge all producers, value chain, retailers, to start making this a key requirement when you are implementing new traceability solutions”

Next up is Libby Woodhatch, Executive Chair of the Marin Trust, who outlines the flow of marine ingredients throughout the value chain, originating from both wild catch and aquaculture, plus byproducts from the seafood processing industries. The Marin Trust has been working closely with GDST and is including interoperable traceability in the third version of its Factory Standard, she confirms.

“We need to be very specific about useful data… in marine ingredients, we need to look at both whole fish and byproducts… what are the critical tracking events?” she notes.

Now Marcelo Hidalgo (FIA PNG) highlights the importance of social accountability in traceability, and describes how the PNG Fishing Industry Association platform “passes the interoperability test”. Hidalgo says that traceability “is not a solution for slavery on board, but is part of the solution… we consider it very important to have certification.”

"A fishery is not only the health of the stock – it’s also about people.”

He urges the fishing industry to become more transparent: “open your vessel monitoring system so any stakeholder can see how your vessel is working," he says.

Animal welfare is the focus of the final presentation by Christine Xu of the Aquatic Life Institute, who says she hopes that the issue of fish welfare can further developed in the next iteration of the GDST, and highlights that an enhanced focus on welfare can help to support key business objectives in building consumer trust, market differentiation and alignment with sustainability goals, among others.

Day 1: focus on sustainability and traceability

There’s a tangible buzz in the air as this year’s Seafood Expo Global kicks off in Barcelona today. This year is the 30th edition of the global trade event, and is the largest in the event’s history.

WeAreAquaculture will be live-blogging from the event, so check back on this page for updates throughout the following 3 days!

11:00: The day’s conference sessions have got off to a great start with a presentation organised by NextOcean on earth observation services for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, featuring speakers Eleftheria Bikou (AquaManager) and Sylvie Giraud (CLS), participants in the NextOcean collaborative research project.

<div class="paragraphs"><p><strong>Eleftheria Bikou</strong> (<a href="">AquaManager</a>) and <strong>Sylvie Giraud</strong> (CLS), at SeafoodExpo Barcelona 2024.</p></div>

Eleftheria Bikou (AquaManager) and Sylvie Giraud (CLS), at SeafoodExpo Barcelona 2024.

Photo: WeAreAquaculture.

Speaker Sylvie Giraud explains how satellite monitoring technology can help aquaculture producers in a wide variety of practical ways, including monitoring the status of their infrastructure during and after harsh weather events, as well as ensuring regulatory compliance and preventing structures from moving into marine protected zones, shipping lanes or fishing areas.

Earth observation technologies also enable monitoring and advance warning of marine heatwaves, enabling aquaculture producers to prepare for disruptive climate events, Giraud explains.

Now Eleftheria Bikou explains how aquaManager software provides real-time IoT monitoring, connected devices and equipment - including livestream footage from aquaculture facilities - supporting global aquaculture producers in achieving more effective production control, planning, cost accounting and traceability.

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