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Week in Review: Seafood industry starts off 2019 with a bang

EU lifts yellow card warning on Thailand, feed heavyweights say their farewells; Trump’s shutdown drags on threatening Alaska pollock, cod fisheries.

Phew -- we’ve completed the first full working week of 2019 and come out the other side more or less unscathed.

The New Year has kicked off with a bang as well.

The big news this week saw the EU finally lift its yellow card against Thailand, which had been in place since April 2015.

Naturally the Thai industry praised the move with its largest seafood company Thai Union leading the plaudits.

And while various NGOs as well as CP Foods also applauded the 'transformation' of Thai fisheries, the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) warned gaps still remain.

The week also saw two stalwarts from the feed industry hang up their pellets, with BioMar veteran Niels Alsted bidding farewell to the industry after 45 years and Cargill’s Einar Wathne also leaving the sector.

Alsted gave IntraFish a final interview, looking back over a lifetime in the industry and ahead to its future.

But the week wasn’t all about people leaving, and BioMar also appointed a new vice president of its salmon division as well as a new managing director in Norway.

Speaking of Norway, the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) unveiled the country’s export figures for 2018 which hit a new record of $11.5 billion.

However, despite this, Renate Larsen, CEO of the NSC, said the country was losing out on billions of krone in processing potential by sending most of the product elsewhere for processing.

Across the pond in America, the big news centered around the government’s ongoing shut down, which is threatening to delay the Alaska pollock and cod fisheries.

There was the question whether the US’s new SIMP regulations will curtail growth in Indian shrimp imports, while Ecuador’s shrimp production was forecast to grow 10 percent in 2019.

Towards the end of the week, the Canadian government convicted Clearwater of 'gross violations', but the company struck back claiming it’s been 'fully transparent' with DFO about its fishing operations.

We learnt how French Christmas seafood sales were unaffected by nationwide protests taking place in the country, and that it will be fresh and pre-packed seafood to lift French seafood spending.

The ASC was busy during the week with Arnalax and Arctic Sea Farm in Iceland both getting the certification nod as well as Nova Austral's Sixty South in Chile.

Finally we heard some more about the private equity fund Permira and its plans for aquaculture in Asia, while at the same time it completed its buyout of Grobest, appointing a new management team.

Stay tuned -- next week will be just as busy with journalists in San Diego for the Global Seafood Marketing Conference and the IntraFish Women in Seafood Leadership Event!

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