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Something's fishy at Seafood Expo North America

Vendors and buyers chat each other up at Boston Convention Center
Vendors and buyers chat each other up at Boston Convention Center
Jane Ward

Seafood Expo North America is the largest seafood trade event on the continent, attracting over 19,000 attendees from over 100 countries. Everyone in the seafood industry attends, from vendors of various kinds of fish, to wholesale buyers, to providers of packaging, transportation, and cooling equipment. This year's event took place over three days, March 16 through March 18, at Boston Convention Center on the waterfront.

While the jury may still be out on the greenest way of bringing fish to the table, rest assured that the subject is on everyone's mind. You simply cannot hope to promote a successful business these days, at least in the food sector, without having a somewhat acceptable answer to the question, "What are you doing about your environmental impact?"

Watchdog Groups such as the Marine Stewardship Council, Cleanfish, and Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries had booths of their own at this past weekend's Seafood Expo, dishing out advice on which vendors had the greenest practices, and what the industry as a whole is doing to minimize its negative impact on the globe. But many direct vendors were also excited to report on the green issue, trying hard to outdo each other on the sustainable quality of their wares.

PolyConversions, Inc., a provider of industrial protective wear such as aprons and shoe covers, has a brochure dedicated to getting the word out about the environmental sustainability of its products. One of the things that the company feels puts it above their competitors is that PolyCo Products are not made from vinyl, which is difficult to dispose of, emitting harmful chemicals when it is incinerated. Instead, PolyCo uses polyolefin plastomer resins, and the resulting products can be reused, recycled, or safely and cleanly incinerated.

As for the fish themselves, shellfish, and especially oysters, came out the big winner in sustainability. Representatives from Mook Sea Farm in Maine and Pangea Shellfish right here in Boston are excited about the possibilities that a rising demand for shellfish have for the health of underwater ecosystems.

As it turns out, oysters naturally absorb nitrogen from the water, ensuring that it does not reach harmful levels. Each oyster can filter out nitrogen and other contaminants from up to one gallon of water per hour. Additionally, they attract carnivorous fish, as well as smaller shellfish that latch onto the oyster shells, creating a balanced habitat.

The opinion of everyone in the seafood industry is that the sea is the healthiest and most energy efficient way to get animal protein for human consumption. For more information, visit SeafoodExpo.com/NorthAmerica.