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Above: Left to right: Raphael Bouchez, Kaviari; Derryl Evens, Interocean Seafoods; Tom Scott, Q-Sea Specialty Services; Michael McGinley, Ocean Beauty.

Seafood Expo Global 2016 – Brussels, Belgium April 26-28

This year’s Brussels Seafood Show may have been Ocean Beauty’s best ever, despite the added security and terrible weather.

Unsurprisingly, in the wake of the March 22 terrorist bombings in Brussels, overall attendance was down somewhat. A number of companies, including several from Alaska, cited security concerns in the wake of the March bombings as their reason for not attending this year’s show. But we felt it was important that we be there to represent the interests of the Alaska fishers and coastal communities, and to show solidarity with the people of Brussels. And did it pay off! The Ocean Beauty booth was busier than ever. It looked as though the tire-kickers skipped the show, but the serious buyers were there in force and they were there to do business. We made a number of new connections in addition to excellent meetings with our existing customers.

Typical at the show: Simultaneous meetings at every table at our booth, as well as at the display cases. This photo was taken eight minutes before closing on the second day of the show. Meetings lasted well after closing time.

Background: ASMI served food out of one its European food trucks. Left to right: Gottfried Lichdi, COSTA Meeresspezialitaten; the ASMI Bear; Michael McGinley.

Thanks to ASMI, Diversified, and Brussels security forces we had a safe and hospitable environment to conduct business.

As usual, ASMI (Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute) and Diversified Communications (owner of the show) did tremendous support work, and made sure we had the tools to succeed.

Security was tight, particularly at the airport, and it sometimes took 2-3 hours to get through the layers of security. There were Belgian army vehicles visible throughout the city, and soldiers were present in the subway stations and in the cars. One advantage of the additional security was the absence of pickpockets, which has been an issue in the past.

‘It wasn’t all work, though, and apparently Ocean Beauty won the World Cup!

Left to right: Ricardo Bermejo de Moura, Grupo Satel; Emanuel Silva, Foreign Trade Consultant; Igor Andrade, Orleans Castro Seafood; Rafael Camacho, Marine Soul; Marcelo Simoes, LM Pescados; Danny Alva, Ocean Beauty.

Throughout the city there were poignant memorials to the victims of the terrorist attacks.

Brussels has suffered terribly, but the people there are resilient and unwilling to give in to fear. We would like to thank the people of Brussels for their hospitality, their strength in the face of chaos and tragedy, and hope that the future is bright and peaceful. Je suis Bruxelles! See you next year!