Falklands : FIRS THROWS THE SPOTLIGHT ON FIFCA
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 12.05.2012 (Article Archived on 09.06.2012)
Members of the Falkland Islands Fishing Companies Association recently appeared at the Vigo Seafood Show held in Belgium.
FIRS THROWS THE SPOTLIGHT ON FIFCA
A Report for FIRS by Samantha Addison (SA) 09 May 2012
Members of the Falkland Islands Fishing Companies Association recently appeared at the Vigo Seafood Show held in Spain. Janet Robertson (JR) and Tom Blake (TB) both work in the Fishing industry in the Falklands and both went along to the Seafood Show. I asked Janet and Tom about the show and how important it is for the Falkland Islands to be represented at a show such as this.
First of all, Janet told me why the show is held.
JR: The seafood show is one of the largest held annually around the world; and the purpose of it is for distributors of seafood to fishing companies like ourselves to locate their products, establish links and find new markets and new customers and suppliers as well.
SA: Has anything been said about the 25th anniversary of the Falklandsí fishery?
TB: We didnít actually have anything on the stand saying it was the 25th year but it was one of the reasons why we went this year as we thought it would be important to have a presence there this year. But there werenít any comments about how long the fishery had been going.
JR: Representatives from the Falkland Islands fishing industry have attended the show in the past. I guess it has been 3 or 4 years since we had a stand there and it seemed like a good timely opportunity to go.
SA: I see you were on about different species of squid and fish that are taken. How was that received by people there?
JR: There was a lot of interest particularly in the squid species and King Clip is always popular. What you generally have is people coming past the stand and see the products we have displayed and then they inquire about those products they are interested in. Many are interested in a combination of various products and a lot of fisheries companies here in the Falklands can supply a good mix of those species. I suppose the one exception is Consolidated Fisheries that only produces the most popular Patagonian Tooth-fish.
SA: Did the political situation at the moment bring in a lot of interest?
JR: I think it means that people knew more about what the Falklands were. We had noticeably less people than we did in previous years looking for a map to see where we were. That was encouraging. We had a large Argentine stand next to us that we walked past several times and we did have a conversation with them. But politics just does not come into it.
SA: What sort of feedback did you receive?
TB: There was mainly interest in specific species or a combination. King Clip was quite a popular one and the squid species. Mainly it was people interested in what we could supply. There were some people not interested in buying fish but they were curious about the Falklands and life here. Generally there were people interested in what we could supply because thatís what they were there for.
SA: Do you think it is important for you to go out there?
JR: Well, I think it is very important. I go out there every year for the company I work for Ė Consolidated Fisheries Ė plus the seafood fair which is held annually in March Ė probably slightly more important because the United States is an important market for Tooth-fish but from my point of view, I think the supply to most people are the important thing in going to these shows. The fact we are very isolated here from the markets is an opportunity for us to chat with other suppliers and customers that turn up and to talk to other people in the industry about the way seafood markets are going. It is important to establish that personal contact with people you only correspond with through e-mail. Itís very important especially for us because it is so far away. We donít have that many opportunities to meet our customers. I think itís always good to showcase the Falkland Islands abroad like that and I think, as an association, weíve got quite a lot to offer. It is more attractive doing it as a group than if we were each trying to have our own little stand; and doing our own thing. Having an association allows us to combine and share contacts which I think is good for the industry.
TB: As an Association we have not gone to this show for a few years and we need to look at going to it on a more regular basis so we can continue selling on an adult basis because one of the issues of going for three or four years is that people forget about going to the Falklands for supply and people just wandering around see the stand and see the species on offer and they start talking and asking questions. If you are there on an annual basis people will make a point to go to the stand. We need to look at this. Itís a big commitment. The issue is that it is a big commitment in time and cost to go every year but maybe on a more regular basis.
JR: There is another seafood show which FIFCA hasnít attended but I think people with Spanish Joint Venture partners have gone to the one in October. There was some rumour this year that the whole seafood show is going to move to Barcelona from Brussels. We are not exactly sure why although we think the increase in cost at Brussels could be a factor. That hasnít been confirmed and we donít know whether thatís the case or not. It is a question of wait and see on that.
SA: Would that make much of a difference to going there from here?
JR: I donít think it would make much difference. It has been suggested that it wouldnít be in April Ė May. It may be in October. Whether it will have an affect I donít know but it shouldnít be any different. Accommodation costs could be slightly cheaper.
TB: Itís horrendously expensive in Brussels in that e300 to e400 will get you a basic room in a hotel.
JR: There is one thing that I think for us as Falkland Islanders makes Brussels special is that there is a pair of Upland Geese that lived at the South Side of Heisall Stadium where the show is and theyíd been there for several years. There were two pairs six or seven years ago. Thereís only one now but it is nice for us to see a pair of Upland Geese. They are very fat and healthy looking.
(100X Transcription Service)