Seafood Expo North America has been postponed, but organisers still hope to stage an event this year.
Seafood Expo North America has been postponed, but organisers still hope to stage an event this year.

US seafood expo falls victim to coronavirus

Seafood Expo North America, which was due to take place from March 15-17, has been postponed because of fears about coronavirus.

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Diversified Communications, which organises the Boston event, said it took the decision after weeks of monitoring the evolving situation around the virus and evaluating the full spectrum of feedback it had received among hundreds of calls and emails.

“This decision has been difficult because of the major importance of this event to the industry,” said group vice president Liz Plizga in a letter to those due to take part.

Liz Plizga: 'We are monitoring the situation closely in Brussels'.
Liz Plizga: "We are monitoring the situation closely in Brussels".

‘Postponement unavoidable’

“We heard from those of you who were concerned about health, safety and travel restrictions, and given the short time before the scheduled event date, and upcoming logistics, we have determined that postponement at this time is unavoidable.

“We are committed to finding a solution to deliver an event in North America, this year, to ensure business continuity to the seafood industry.

“Details on when and where will be communicated directly with our customers in the next month. Depending on date and location availability, the event might look slightly different for 2020 but will continue to provide the opportunities to connect suppliers and buyers in the industry.”

Brussels scheduled as planned

Plizga said the company would offer customers the choice of rolling over exhibit space payment to the future 2020 event or to the March 2021 event in Boston.

She added that the world’s biggest seafood event, Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global, is still scheduled as planned on April 21-23 at the Brussels Expo in Belgium.

“We are monitoring the situation closely in Brussels and are dedicated to providing a valuable and safe global business platform to the industry,” wrote Plizga.

Disappointment for supplier 

Dundee-based aquaculture technology supplier Ace Aquatec is one of the companies left disappointed by the Boston postponement. It had been planning to exhibit at the event to promote its Humane Stunner Universal (HSU), which stuns fish before slaughter.

Business development manager Andrew Thomson-Chittenden said the company had been receiving a lot of interest for its in-water stunning solutions from across North America. 

“Animal welfare is quickly becoming an increased focus for consumers and retailers, and our stunner is perfectly situated to support with the humane slaughter and processing goals of RAS farms, processing factories and hatcheries,” said Thomson-Chittenden.