January 18, 2024
On February 29, members of the commercial fishing industry will have a chance to speak directly to their buyers – restaurants, retailers, brokers, and other seafood businesses – at the Wild Seafood Connection conference, presented by the Port of Bellingham and produced by Colibri Northwest.
Formerly known as the Wild Seafood Exchange, the one-day conference aims to help independent fishing businesses directly market and sell their catch. Washington Sea Grant (WSG) was a sponsor for the previous incarnation for over 10 years. In addition to panel discussions, attendees will have the opportunity to take part in one-on-one roundtables on topics ranging from funding sources to small business case studies.
“It’s a unique opportunity for commercial fishers and seafood buyers to come together and learn from one another,” says Jenna Keeton, fisheries specialist at WSG and a speaker at the conference. “Whether you’re interested in simplifying your seafood supply chain, learning about different markets, seeking tips for better processing and distribution, or just want to know what technical resources are out there, that information will be available.”
Marketing and selling seafood products directly to buyers and customers can have many benefits, like increasing the price fishers receive for their seafood or ensuring a top quality product for customers. But in a complex regulatory environment, it can be difficult for independent fishers to get started, or to ramp up ongoing operations. Conferences like Wild Seafood Connection are one way to not only share knowledge and resources, but also to build community – and support local fishing economies in the process.
Wild Seafood Connection will take place Thursday, February 29 at the Holiday Inn & Suites in Bellingham, Washington. Washington, Oregon and California Sea Grants are gold sponsors for the event through a NOAA grant with Washington Sea Grant assisting in the concept and coordination of the panel program and program publicity. Registration is required; tickets and more information are available here.
Washington Sea Grant, based at the University of Washington, helps people and marine life thrive through research, technical expertise and education supporting the responsible use and conservation of coastal ecosystems. The National Sea Grant College Program is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.