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Responsible Seafood Summit underway in Saint John

The 22nd edition of the Responsible Seafood Summit is underway in Saint John, N.B.

“It’s an opportunity for people in aqua culture and fisheries to get together and discuss shared responsibilities and goals,” says event director Steven Hedlund.

The four day event brings together 350 delegates from over 20 different countries in the global seafood supply chain. It’s the second time the conference has been held in Canada, and first time in the Maritimes.

“The industry is so important to the people here as far as jobs and employment and the culture of the province,” Hedlund says. “For us to come to a place like that, and then to get an opportunity to get people out and about with field trips to visit farms, processing plants, hatcheries, feed mills and fishing boats, it’s just a great opportunity to do that all within an hour or two of Saint John.”

With so many different industry officials at the event ranging in backgrounds, Hedlund says much of the discussions focus on the big picture, and don’t get overly technical.

“We tend to discuss shared responsibilities and goals revolving around environment responsibilities and social accountability or animal health and welfare,” Hedlund says. “Issues that effect the entire industry”

The summit will consist of panels, guest speakers, and field trips to various industry locations in the province, like Oyster Kings farm on New Brunswick’s north shore. Hedlund says trips like this also provide an opportunity for networking.

“We have a gentleman coming who is a seafood buyer from Japan coming all the way here and probably buys Atlantic Canadian seafood,” says Hedlund, who says he is only one of countless examples.

“So it’s an opportunity for him and others like him to come here and meet with vendors.”

Event officials also hope to better share their message and goal with the public.

“We have a great story to tell with seafood and we don’t always do a good job at telling that,” admits Hedlund. “So we talk about how to better message to consumers, to the public, who can get confused on what aqua cultures and fisheries are.”

The summit runs from Monday to Thursday at the Delta Hotel in the city’s uptown core.

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