The Seafoof West Summit is in Campbell River on Sept. 27 and 28. Photo, BCSFA

Salmon farming industry converges on Campbell River

Seafood West Summit set for Sept. 27 and 28

The B.C. aquaculture industry will be converging on Campbell River next weekend for its annual event, the Seafood West Summit.

The event aims to look at what’s new in the aquaculture industry as well as what is happening when seafood ends up on the table.

“It’s part AGM and part business and science summit,” said Meghan Charles, a BCSFA spokesperson. “It’s not really a trade show. We do have what we call our new product showcase.”

Aquaculture is frequently in the news. For example, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities recently passed a motion to push for the province to move aquaculture from open-net farms in the ocean to closed containment.

RELATED STORY: B.C. municipalities call for shift to closed-containment fish farms

The industry, Charles said, has changed a lot in recent years, even in light of opposition.

“There’s been a lot of change in our industry. There’s been a lot of change in public perception in what’s going around us,” she said, “so we’re in a definite period of flux.”

While there is not necessarily a major theme to the event, she said, the underlying message is “the way forward.”

Charles acknowledges the controversy but said, “We’ve also made huge, giant strides forward in a short period of time.”

As a comparison, she said, aquaculture has only been around for decades while farming the land has existed for thousands of years.

“I know our industry feels like we don’t get credit where credit is due,” she said.

RELATED STORY: Science, not emotion, needs to take the lead on fish farming

Seafood West will bring in the B.C. Salmon Farming Association’s new executive director John Paul Fraser and renowned speakers, most notably author, chef, and seafood sustainability expert Barton Seaver.

“He’s our keynote speaker this year,” Charles said. “I’ve heard him speak before. He’s very good to listen to.”

Other presenters include Dr. Dick Beamish, emeritus scientist; Marco Valicenti, director general, Market and Industry Services Branch, AAFC; and John Carlo Felicella, Culinary Team British Columbia.

The welcome reception for Seafood West takes place the evening of Sept. 27, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Shelter Point Distillery in Oyster River and will feature the talents of B.C.’s West Coast chefs preparing a variety of B.C.’s fresh farm-raised fish. The event will offer conference attendees an opportunity to network with BCSFA members, government representatives, Seafood West participants and VIP guests.

Also on Sept. 27 is the New Products Showcase at Thunderbird Hall in Campbell River from 10:30 am to noon., followed by the Sharing Salmon event at the same location from 1 to 2 p.m.

BCSFA will also hold its annual general meeting at Thunderbird Hall the same day from 2 to 4 p.m.

On Sept. 28, the Seafood West Summit happens at Thunderbird Hall starting at 8 a.m. and running until 2 p.m. It will be followed by farm tours between 3 and 6 p.m. starting from Fisherman’s Wharf in Campbell River.

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The industry is hoping to change public perception. Photo, BCSFA

A fish processing plant. Photo, BCSFA

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