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PrimeFish partner

Marine Institute participates in global seafood market study


By Leslie Earle

The Fisheries and Marine Institute has joined an international project aimed at improving the competitiveness of the global fisheries and aquaculture industries.

“PrimeFish is a four-year project being led by Icelandic-based Matis, a government-owned, independent research company that will study and analyze the European seafood market in general and specific seafood supply-chains such as cod, herring, trout, seabass, seabream, salmon and pangasius,” said Carey Bonnell, head, School of Fisheries, Marine Institute.

Global partnership

Fourteen research centres within the European Economic Area, along with two centres based in Canada and Vietnam, are part of the initiative, which is supported by the European Horizon 2020 program.

Members of the PrimeFish partner consortium pose for a photo during their first meeting.

“MI’s Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Develop (CASD) is Canada’s representative on the project and will be part of a comparative analysis outside Europe — examining how competitive Canada is in global markets,” said Heather Manuel, director, CASD. “MI will take the lead on Atlantic cod, herring and Atlantic salmon, as well as crab and shrimp if time permits.”

New online tool

PrimeFish will review current production and market dynamics, examine forecasting and prediction models and review trends in consumer behaviour in local, European and international seafood markets.

“PrimeFish will bridge the gap between the seafood industry and science for many global seafood markets.” –Glenn Blackwood

The goal is to develop a new, user-friendly online tool that seafood producers will be able to use to improve their understanding of consumer preferences, support their decision-making as it relates to market behaviour, help with production planning and the launch of new products as well as spotting possible “boom and bust” price cycles.

PrimeFish’s partner consortium includes mainly economists, market and consumer analysts and seafood industry experts and come from leading European universities and research organizations, supplemented by international participants from Vietnam and Canada to also enable comparative investigation outside Europe. In addition, there is close industry involvement in the project in order to ensure practical implications of the outcomes.

Canadian perspective

“CASD will work with Canadian producers to collect relevant data as it relates to this country’s role in international seafood markets,” continued Ms. Manuel. “For example, we want to know when consumer demand is highest for a particular species so we know when it is most profitable to harvest or farm that particular stock. Right now, we are in the process of benchmarking where we are currently and determining next steps.”

“PrimeFish will bridge the gap between the seafood industry and science for many global seafood markets,” said Glenn Blackwood, vice-president, Memorial University (Marine Institute). “MI is pleased to be part of this important work that will help Canadian seafood producers to improve their competitiveness worldwide.”

The PrimeFish project officially began in April 2015 at a meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland. For more information, please visit here.

CASD is a comprehensive industrial response unit within the School of Fisheries at the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University. The centre is internationally recognized for its applied scientific and technical expertise, comprehensive research facilities and commitment to clients in the seafood processing and aquaculture industries. The centre focuses on seafood processing, aquaculture and marine bioprocessing.

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