Seafood industry representatives from more than 40 countries will converge in St. John’s next weekend for the 2013 World Seafood Congress.
This is the first time the gathering, held every two years, will be held in the city.
The congress, being held at the Delta Hotel, is held on behalf of the International Association of Fish Inspectors, an international organization that promotes global seafood trade, said Heather Manuel, the congress’s program chairwoman and director of the Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development at the Fisheries and Marine Institute.
“They deal with everything from fish inspection and quality assessment to sustainable harvesting through market access issues,” said Manuel, who added that this year’s theme is “creative solutions for global challenges.”
About 280 delegates are registered and confirmed for 130 speakers for the event, which kicks off Sept. 28 and runs until Oct. 3.
It’s the third time the congress, which started in the 1990s, has been held in Canada.
“We have two sessions that are devoted to sustainable aquaculture, and we have a number of speakers that will be talking about various issues that affect not only Newfoundland but other areas worldwide,” said Manuel.
“So I expect that there will be a discussion potentially around (infectious salmon anemia). I don’t know for sure. It depends on what the speakers want to focus on. They’re also looking at some of the good things that are happening as well, such as our recent organic certification for Newfoundland’s blue mussel ind-ustry. So we’re trying to focus on the challenges but also focus on the innovations and the positive things that are happening as well.”
Speakers include provincial Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Derrick Dalley, federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea, Canadian Food Inspection Agency vice-president Cameron Prince, and Ocean Choice International CEO Martin Sullivan.
A delegation of 30 people from developing countries, led by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, will also attend.
“There’s a large number of delegates and speakers coming from the U.K., North America — Canada and the U.S. — and of course the developing countries component. We’ve got a number of countries from Africa being represented, Asia — Indonesia, India — so it’s quite broad.”