(for iPhones, Blackberry and Android) on their smartphone could gain access to interactive hall plans, information about the exhibitors, fair news and social media. Regular updates were to keep fair visitors informed before the events started. This new kind of offer could be a sign that the fair organisers have awoken from their lethargy and are thinking seriously about how they can make the two seafood fairs more attractive and more worthwhile for both exhibitors and visitors. The economic developments of recent years in many parts of the world show that no one should be too sure of presumed success. People who come to Brussels regularly and go through the halls with their eyes open could hardly fail to see that there were some changes at the ESE and the SPE, too. The two fairs were this year again a magnet for the global seafood industry – and that is already confirmed by the key figures: nearly 1,600 exhibitors from 70 countries, about 25,000 visitors from 140 nations. But there were some slight changes here, too. The French companies that had traditionally exhibited in the crowd-drawing entrance area of Hall 5 had almost disappeared completely from the hall. Their space had been taken over by Norwegian companies which had greatly extended their presence in Brussels. Some companies that had otherwise rather modest displays impressed fair visitors with noticeably larger stands this year. And it was also surprising that Pescanova was not there – they had filed for bankruptcy just a few days prior to the ESE – did not leave any empty spaces in the halls. The organisers had apparently somehow succeeded in making up for the absence of the big company. 14
Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2013
[ EVENTS ESE ]
If anyone was on the lookout for fresh, frozen and processed seafood products from ﬁsheries and aquaculture they were certainly offered a lot at this year’s ESE – as every year.
Concentration on core business saves time and money With regard to visitor numbers, opinions were divided. Some exhibitors believed there had been less guests than in previous years. Others, however, noticed no differences, it was just that the crowds had been spread out differently over the three days. No exhibitors complained of having too little to do, and all the key decisionmakers and buyers had been there as usual. Some exhibitors, however, thought they had noticed that the visitors had less time, came to the point more quickly and were more concentrated. People who go about their work purposefully and single-mindedly can perhaps save a day in Brussels and thus on costs. It was also noticed that a lot of companies came to Brussels with less visitors. Those who in the past were taken along just to have a look, get a taste of the exhibition atmosphere and perhaps make
new contacts sooner stay at home today. But no one is going to complain seriously when a fair serves its real purpose and concentrates on offering products, services and information, on negotiating, buying and selling. This return to an efficient and objective usage of the fair days was also visible in the fact that the programme and accompanying events had never before been as full or rich as they were this year. Numerous countries, companies and associations used the fairs to advertise their products, services and interests. Where else do you get the chance to meet and bring together in one place so many important people and organisations? On the first two days alone, guests were invited to take part in more than 20 events, some of which overlapped partially or even fully. Countries like Chile, Thailand, Ireland and Sri Lanka had taken along prominent politicians to
draw attention to and convince people of their national strategies for sustainable fishing and aquaculture or to their social commitment.
Certiﬁers looking to further harmonize their standards Anyone who was looking for new trends in Brussels did not have an easy time. The immense product variety was once again impressive, even if not every new product idea will ultimately be able to assert itself successfully. One development which one could perhaps say is a new trend is the clever mix of components used in convenience products. The possibility to combine relatively expensive fish with reasonably priced ingredients and thus to offer a product with a final price that is more acceptable to the market has been practised for years already but never before was this trend so marked. In some products that www.eurofishmagazine.com
This issue covers Romania and reviews the ESE in Brussels. The Aquaculture section looks at new candidate species.