In honor of Independence Day, Teknotherm Refrigeration will be closed tomorrow. As always, we can be reached after hours if you have a parts or maintenance emergency. We wish everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July!
We’ve been quite busy the past few weeks. First we attended the Workboat Maintenance and Repair Expo in New Orleans in mid-April. Then we sponsored the Bering Sea Fisheries Expo in Seattle on April 30. Then it on to Houston for the Offshore Technology Conference. Whew! I blogged about the Workboat show here.
The Bering Sea show was a lot of fun. We were one of the sponsors and had a table in the lobby area, along with a dozen or so other companies involved in the fishing industry. There were several interesting presentations, including speakers from Jensen Maritime Consultants and Guido Perla & Associates on the topic of new boats being built here in the Pacific Northwest. They talked about the design-build process, new technology, and a lot more. The value of harvesting every part of the fish was also discussed, along with new ways that fishermen are doing that. Other topics included regulatory issues, financing, and sustainable seafood products.
Dr Tabitha Grace Mallory from The National Bureau of Asian Research gave a fascinating presentation at lunch about Chinese fishing and their growing impact on the global seafood market. She specializes in Chinese foreign and environmental policy and is writing a book about China and global fishery issues. This was a great conference: I met a lot of interesting people, answered questions, and enjoyed a lot of good food.
The OTC show was enormous, with nearly 3000 vendors from 130 countries and nearly 100,000 people in attendance. Occupying both the arena and Center buildings at NRG Park in Houston, this show covered pretty much everything having to do with the offshore industry. Oil rig designers, builders, and suppliers were everywhere of course, but also companies dealing with offshore energy projects, shipbuilding, maintenance, and support services of all kinds. We found several new suppliers at this show, adding to the vast selection of parts we already offer.
I went to this show with Chris Complita, the ace Parts guy here at Teknotherm. Good thing, because it took both of us to cover all that territory! Houston traffic lived up to its reputation and the hotel rooms were quite expensive, but the weather was nice for that time of year. We met with several of our good clients in the area, and even drove up to Bryan to visit some folks up there. A productive and interesting week.
We are heading to the Bering Sea Fisheries Conference tomorrow. This is conference season for us: we went to the Work Boat Maintenance and Repair Expo in New Orleans two weeks ago, and will be attending the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston next week. Whew.
This show focuses on issues important to those work in the Bering Sea. From their web site: “Presented by Fishermen’s News each spring, the Bering Sea Fisheries Conference provides the only forum specifically designed to bring boat owners together with finance providers, shipyards and designers for candid and focused discussions about how we can work together to maximize the economic potential of fleet recapitalization.”
Topics include new vessel review, legislative issues, financing, marketing sustainable seafood, and more. The show will be at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Seattle. More info can be found on the web site at www.beringseafisheries.com.
Be sure to stop by the Teknotherm Refrigeration table and introduce yourself!
I spent most of last week in New Orleans at the Work Boat Maintenance & Repair Expo. Met a lot of interesting people and saw some new products that we might start carrying or incorporating into our refrigeration systems. Also met the nice folks at Work Boat Magazine, who put on the show. I’ve corresponded with the Work Boat staff many times so it was good to finally meet them in person.
One of the highlights for me was Captain Nick Sloane’s presentation about salvaging the Costa Concordia. This was the cruise ship that ran aground off the Tuscan coast in 2012. Considered the largest and most expensive ocean salvage operation in history, the presentation was truly impressive. Between the massive logistical issues and the obstinate Italian government, it’s a miracle they were able to pull this off in just 30 months. A great review of his presentation can be found here: http://www.workboat.com/news-feed/2015/costa-concordia-salvage-master-at-workboat-expo
New Orleans is a fun city. Spontaneous parades, good food, and strolling around the French Quarter; can’t go wrong. My hotel was just four blocks from the convention center. However the center is half a mile long and the show was, of course, at the far end of the building. I got some exercise for sure. The lunch spread was nice and you can’t argue with the open bar every evening. Made some new contacts, learned about new products, and came away with new knowledge so I’d call it a success.
There will be another, much larger Work Boat show in December. Contact Work Boat magazine for information on attending.
I’ve never heard the word “fresh” so many times in one day! I just returned from the Wild Seafood Exchange up in Bellingham. It was an all-day event with speakers from the restaurant, fishing, cold storage, and marketing fields. Sponsored by the Port of Bellingham and others, the show focused on the needs of commercial fishermen. Peter Phillips, publisher of Fisherman’s News, and Pete Granger of Washington Sea Grant moderated the panel discussions. The emphasis throughout was helping fishermen connect directly to the end buyer, whether restaurants or consumers.
The first panel focused on the restaurant industry, and what the chefs looked for when buying seafood.One chef mentioned that he likes to see his fish packed in “clean, white ice”. The blogger sitting next to me was taking notes and had written the word “fresh” and underlined it a dozen times. An audience member asked for clarification on what fresh meant, and the panelist elaborated. Obviously, keeping your catch at the right temperature is very, very important: too warm and the fish get ripe, too cold and they freeze when you only want them cool. So refrigeration was a “hot” topic! Other panels included direct marketing, sustainable fishing, web sites, cold storage, and legislative issues.
I met many interesting people, and spoke with most of the presenters. A couple of people stood out to me. One was Sonia Strobel of Skipper Ottos (above, third from left). This is a unique business model that has since been copied throughout the country. It is very similar to the community supported agriculture (CSA) movement, where consumers buy a share in the farm and receive boxes of produce every couple of weeks. In this case people receive fresh fish in the summer and frozen, smoked, and canned products the rest of the year. The seafood is sustainably harvested and the purchased directly from the fishermen. This cuts out the middleman, giving the fisherman a higher income and provides lower prices for the consumer. Plus it’s good for the fisheries. Fascinating concept. Skipper Ottos is in Canada but there are many CSFs (Community Supported Fisheries) here in the US.
Another interesting place was Flying Fish Company out of Portland, Oregon. Owner Lyf Gildersleeve spoke about his sustainable, local seafood business. Not all fish and shellfish available in the storess and restaurants are good choices from an environmental perspective. Populations of seafood vary over time, both naturally and depending on how heavily they are fished. Some are in good shape, and those are the best seafood choices. And when you buy locally you help sustain your local economy, support endangered family farms, protect the environment, and help safeguard your family’s health. Again, cutting out the middleman gives you a better product with more of the money going directly to the fishermen. Local food is fresher, healthier, and just tastes better.
There were lots of other great folks, sorry I don’t have room to mention everyone. I had a blast at the Exchange and plan to go back next year. And to all the people I met at the show: it was great meeting you, feel free to contact me any time.