Posted 18 February 2008 - 10:58 AM
My shrimp marketing colleague-in-arms reported in the other day on a foray to St. John's for a Atlantic Coldwater Shrimp conference:
Hope all is well. How are the shrimp shaping up down there this season?
The :Atlantic Coldwater Shrimp: Marketing Challenges and Opportunities" conference in St. John's Newfoundland last week was really interesting. I traveled there with a few of the shrimp trappers from Canso. Basically, learned a lot about the perilous state of the industry, what with warm water prawns being the increasing choice all over the world, seemingly, and prices, tariffs, etc, etc, etc. Despite a grand announcement that Moody Marine was going to recommend MSC certification to many of the fleet areas, the industry is mostly aiming, it seems, to dump their supply into discount bins in Russia and China. Sad state of affairs.
Because I was there with a small-volume day-trippin' trap shrimp fishery, I think the market picture for them could conceivably be much different. It seemed clear that the package product of a charming small environmentally friendly fishery with quality product (and possibly a low carbon footprint) could find a real niche, particularly in the UK. We had some very interesting conversations with buyers and suppliers from Norway and the UK, so we'll see what happens with that, hopefully in line with next season.
One thing I thought was interesting though, was that for two days, we talked export export export. Even our nutritional breaks were sponsored by container ships. Meanwhile I became increasingly curious to hear about domestic markets. I mean, people eat shrimp in Canada, right? I was thinking about our efforts here at the Ecology Action Centre to try and capitalize on a growing "local food movement", and the food miles and carbon footprinting awareness that is undoubtedly coming down the pipes, to stimulate a local niche market for these Chedabucto Bay trap-caught shrimp. So I got up and asked the room of 250 odd people, if anyone could comment on this marketing oppportunity, and invoked the examples of the local markets for BC Spot Prawns and Maine Shrimp. And I got a room full of absolute silence..... A telling answer in itself.
During the break, John Sackton of Seafood News told me he thought it was a good question, and that these guys just aren't there yet. Maybe if I ask again in a few years... jeez. Anyway, Mr. Sackton is quite a fan of your Maine shrimp, apparently.
Meanwhile, that article seems to have catapulted the chedabucto bay trap-caught shrimp onto a number of new menu items across the city, some even utiliaing a shells on presenation.... so ..... building, building, and crossing fingers.
Anyway! There is your shrimp update from up east! I'd love to hear your thoughts.