Programme for IAFI 2007 World Seafood Congress announced –

Programme for IAFI 2007 World Seafood Congress announced Published:  06 July, 2007

Professor Michael Crawford

CONSUMER demand for seafood and marine sustainability issues is driving a congress agenda.

The complex challenge of balancing a spiralling worldwide consumer demand for seafood, with the development of sustainable global fisheries is one of the key “green marine” issues driving the “timely and topical” IAFI World Seafood Congress programme.

Renowned scientist, Professor Michael Crawford will deliver the Congress’s keynote address. He leads a line-up of world-class experts and commentators from Ireland, the UK, Sweden, Spain, the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and Africa to cover the programme’s three-day conference and “Innovation in Seafood” exhibition through a range of lectures, debates, plenary and breakout sessions.

Professor Crawford’s fascinating presentation will focus on the marine origin of the human brain and its ongoing dependence on the same marine nutrients that stimulated its first evolution about 500-600 million years ago. He shows how a lack of seafood in the modern diet may be contributing to the rising tide of mental illness currently plaguing the developed world. Professor Crawford, the recipient of some of science’s most prestigious awards, is currently Director of the Institute of Brain Chemistry & Human Nutrition, Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children, London.

Congress sessions on “Seafood Standard Certification –Making the Label Stick”, “The Reality of Microbiological and Virological Risks”, “Key Import Authority Requirements for Seafood” and “The Exporters’ View of the Global Market” figure in a raft of subject matter tailored to appeal to attending seafood companies and seafood professionals from all areas of the industry.

Crucial information will be disseminated, for example, on the primary reasons why regulators refuse seafood producers access to target markets all around the world will be highlighted via lessons learned and shared by attending senior regulators from all of the major importing countries. This will be ‘must-have’ knowledge for any serious player in the seafood business.

The weakening in consumer confidence, seafood producers and retailers experience when fish products are denied entry by regulators contributes to what Congress organisers have identified as one of the critical challenges the seafood industry must tackle collectively – how best to stabilise the volatile confidence consumers place in the safety of seafood. John Connolly, President of the US’s National Fisheries Institute will contribute to a plenary on “Problems of Communicating with Consumers about Trace Contaminants in Seafood”.

The follow-on WSC breakout session on how “Best to Communicate the Risks and Benefits of Eating Seafood” will present latest research findings on new ways of communicating with consumers particularly during the high profile seafood safety scares that damage the reputation of seafood globally.

The programme session on “The Retailer’s Perspective on the Changing Seafood Market” will hear contributions from retailers Wal-Mart, Tesco, the UK’s Young’s /Foodfest Group and the Barry Group, Canada on their current market strategies for managing consumer trends and expectation that pressure for the delivery of a rapidly increasing range of safe, healthy and convenient seafood products. The leading trends in today’s fast moving seafood market will be revealed in detail.

The ability of retailers, processors and seafood producers to meet spiralling consumer demands for fish will be discussed in the “Sustainability and Nutrition” paper to be presented by Dr. Andrew Wadge, Chief Scientist with the UK’s Food Safety Authority/Agency. He will explore future sustainability measures needed to reconcile increased consumer demand for seafood that is sourced from what is perceived to be a dwindling resource-our seas.

Against this consumer-driven background the necessity to develop functional foods from seafood will be increasingly important for the global seafood sector as will be shown by an in-depth report on the progress of the EU research project SeafoodPlus, when it presents WSC delegates with its breaking news “New Concepts for Value-added Functional Seafood Products”.

The Congress’s final day schedule will get off to an exciting and topical start with the staging of the WSC’s “Great Debate” a programme feature that has already become a talking point amongst registered delegates and exhibitors. The debate will see the Congress enter into the current controversy “Is eating seafood the best way to get those all-important Omega 3s into your diet and into your children’s diet? is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.