Canada’s new global branding strategy will reverberate at the 2019 B.C. Seafood Expo and Festival
By Fabian Dawson
When it comes to seafood, the world is showing a growing appetite for everything Canada has to offer, states the Fisheries Council of Canada (FCC) – the voice of the nation’s commercial fisheries.
“What that geography translates to is a diverse mix of seafood products that we can offer our customers,” said Paul Lansbergen, president of the Fisheries Council of Canada (FCC).
“Canadian seafood really has something for everyone,” he said in the council’s inaugural issue of CANfish magazine.
Canada’s seafood sector directly supports employment for 80,000 Canadians, is a key economic driver in many coastal communities and boasts high rates of Indigenous participation.
The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Outlook to 2027 for Canadian Fish and Seafood reports that although export values will no doubt rise and fall as they have done historically, they will ultimately hover around a higher plateau, around $8 billion per year in the coming decade, up from the previous plateau of $4 billion from 2000 to 2010.
Export opportunities are expected to grow in China, South Korea and countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for TransPacific Partnership. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Europe has also made 95 per cent of Canadian fish and seafood products tariff free.
“China’s rising incomes and expanding middle class are good news for Canada’s seafood industry. And because Canada has a good reputation when it comes to quality and food safety, the brand is in a good position to grow,” said Fan Xubing, managing director of Beijing Seabridge Marketing and Consulting Co., Ltd.
Xubing, who also sits on the board of directors of the China Society of Fisheries, was on hand when the Fisheries Council of Canada launched its brand strategy at the 2018 China Fisheries and Seafood Expo in Qingdao on Nov. 8, 2018.
The message “Three Oceans, Two Million Lakes, One Place” is at the heart of a new Canadian global seafood brand designed to expand market access, said Lansbergen.
Canada is home to the world’s largest coastline, bound by the Arctic waters to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Atlantic coast to the east, and an interior dotted with immense freshwater lakes.
“This message will reverberate at the 2019 Seafood Expo and Festival,” said John Watson, the executive director of the of the Comox Valley Economic Development, the organization that collaborates with a wide range of seafood organizations and institutions to develop the expo and festival annually.
The BC Seafood Expo, which will be held in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island on June 12 and 13, is one of the largest seafood industry trade shows in the Pacific Northwest. The Expo is part of the 2019 BC Seafood Festival which will be held from June 7 to 16.
“This year we will see the largest international buyer’s delegation in the history of the BC Seafood Expo,” said Watson.
“Canada’s west coast commercial fisheries provide premium seafood for Canada and the world,” he said.
Known for its iconic wild salmon stocks, British Columbia’s fertile waters is home to over 80 species of fish, shellfish and marine plants, such as herring, sablefish, halibut, rockfish, hake, geoduck, sea urchin, crab, spot prawn and other species that are sustainably harvested.
Over 100 seafood species are harvested commercially from B.C.’s marine and fresh waters. In B.C., the primary seafood sector includes both wild commercial fisheries and aquaculture, and the seafood processing sector is a component of food and beverage manufacturing.
According to the B.C. government, provincial production from wild and farmed harvests totalled 291,600 tonnes with a landed value of $1.17 billion in 2016.
The wild harvest of 188,000 tonnes was worth $392.8 million to the fishers, while aquaculture generated a total farm-gate value of $776.8 million from 103,600 tonnes of production.
In 2016, B.C. seafood companies produced a total of 509 seafood commodities with a combined wholesale value of $1.721 billion, the highest value ever. A total of 191,100 tonnes of processed seafood was shipped to 80 markets with a total export value of $1.326 billion.
“The harvesting and processing sectors both provide jobs and economic opportunities for coastal communities up and down Vancouver Island and across B.C. with a history of successful partnerships with many First Nations,” said Watson.
“We are proud to be showcasing this at the B.C. Seafood Expo and Festival,” he added.
Heiltsuk First Nation image: A fishing boat pulls in a net full of herring on the Central Coast of B.C.