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Scotland lands bid to host global seafood conference in a UK first

l-r Global Seafood Alliance chief executive Brian Perkins, rural affairs and islands cabinet secretary Mairi Gougeon and Seafood Scotland chief executive Donna Fordyce at Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona.
l-r Global Seafood Alliance chief executive Brian Perkins, rural affairs and islands cabinet secretary Mairi Gougeon and Seafood Scotland chief executive Donna Fordyce at Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona.

Scotland can bolster its reputation for world-class seafood after winning its bid to host a major international conference in autumn 2024.

The location is still to be decided but Aberdeen, with its modern new conference and exhibition facilities at P&J Live, stands as good a chance as any of becoming the host city.

The Global Seafood Alliance (GSA) has held its conferences in 18 cities on four continents since 2001.

Sustainable Scottish seafood. Photo: Michael Diamond

Originally called the Global Shrimp Outlook for Leadership, the first event in the series focused on responsible seafood practices, was held in Singapore in 2001.

The gathering – now the largest of its kind anywhere – was rebranded as the Global Outlook for Aquaculture Leadership in 2008 and again in 2020 as Goal.

Past hosts include France, Chile and Ireland, with this year’s event taking place via virtual workshops and also in-person in Seattle, in the US, from October 3 to 5.

An estimated 500 delegates are expected to attend the in-person event at Goal 2022.

GSA’s 2024 conference will be a UK first

Goal has never previously been held in the UK.

Seafood industry leaders, academia and people representing a variety of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will be in Scotland in 2024 to work together on issues like environmental and social responsibility, animal health and welfare, food safety and more.

The event will be co-hosted by trade body Seafood Scotland and GSA, putting a spotlight on this country’s largest food export.

Billed as a multi-day event, it will feature a conference with international speakers focusing on production, sustainability, innovation and market trends.

There will also be visits for delegates to learn more about Scottish seafood.

GSA shared news of the bid win with rural affairs and islands cabinet secretary Mairi Gougeon during her visit to this week’s Seafood Expo Global trade event in Barcelona.

Ms Gougeon said she was looking forward to welcoming Goal delegates from around the world.

She added: “Scotland’s seafood industry is a major success story, producing world-class, nutritious, low-carbon food that is enjoyed at home and abroad.

“Our world-leading sustainable fisheries management plans demonstrate our commitment to supporting a resilient seafood sector which provides important employment opportunities across our coastal communities.

“I would like to congratulate everyone involved in bringing the conference to Scotland.”

Small country, big on seafood exports

The winning bid was put together by Seafood Scotland, which will work with other industry bodies, GSA and the Scottish Government to deliver the event in 2024.

Seafood Scotland chief executive Donna Fordyce said: “Scotland is one of the world’s most trusted seafood producing countries, thanks to our investment in quality, innovation and sustainability.

“Whilst we’re a small nation, we produce over 60 species of seafood and export to over 120 countries globally.”

Donna Fordyce.

Ms Fordyce added: “From Europe’s largest state-of-the-art fish-market to some of the most stunning sea loch farms and fishing grounds and world class venues, Scotland is the ideal location for Goal.

“It is, therefore, hugely satisfying to see all this hard work recognised by the Global Seafood Alliance in choosing Scotland as the location for its 2024 conference.”

Scotland has a rich tradition in both aquaculture and wild-capture fisheries.”

Brian Perkins, chief executive, the Global Seafood Alliance.

GSA is an international NGO dedicated to advancing responsible seafood practices through education, advocacy and third-party assurances.

Its members include certified seafood producers, corporations and individuals.

GSA chief executive Brian Perkins said: “We look forward to returning our signature Goal conference to Europe for the first time since 2017.

Rich tradition

“Scotland has a rich tradition in both aquaculture and wild-capture fisheries, and we see it as an ideal fit for Goal 2024, given our organisation’s growing involvement in wild-capture fisheries and rebrand from the Global Aquaculture Alliance to the Global Seafood Alliance in 2021.”

Salmon Scotland chief executive Tavish Scott said: “This prestigious event will be a fantastic opportunity to promote the incredible quality of Scotland’s farm-raised salmon, our contribution to the economy and local jobs, and our measures to protect our shared environment.”

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