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Members of the French delegation and N.B. agriculture/aquaculture marketing team. Image: Government of New Brunswick

N.B. seafood producers host French delegation

By Scott Pettigrew Jun 20, 2023 | 8:00 PM

A delegation of French businesses ended their week-long visit with New Brunswick seafood producers at a dinner at Kingsbrae Gardens in Saint Andrews.

“They’re excited. They’re asking a lot of questions,” says Agriculture Minister Margaret Johnson. “They’re thrilled with the food they’ve eaten so far, the sampling we’ve given them of New Brunswick seafood, and it’s been a very animated conversation.”

The eleven-member delegation, including French seafood suppliers, producers and promoters such as Poissonnerie Vianey and the trade publication Produits de la Mer, has been travelling down the coast of the province.

The delegation has visited coastal communities from Caraquet to Miramichi, Shediac to Bayside, visiting with New Brunswick seafood producers such as Cooke Aquaculture, Acadian Sturgeon and Maison BeauSoleil.

“We sought to build relationships with New Brunswick suppliers of lobster, snow crab, salmon, shrimp, caviar, and oysters. We have been very well received by everyone we’ve met.  The visits have been very insightful and educational.  We have had the opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and build new relationships with New Brunswick suppliers,” said mission organizer Florence Brillouin from the Chamber of Commerce France-Canada in a statement to Huddle.

The interest in lobster isn’t surprising given that New Brunswick is the world’s leading lobster processor providing more than half of the global supply of frozen lobster products in 2022.

The delegation’s experiences in the province will help them promote the New Brunswick — Deliciously Canadian campaign in France. That campaign, which boosts recipes featuring fresh New Brunswick-grown and harvested foods, stars local celebrity chef Dennis the Prescott in a series of vignettes about local agriculture, fishing and aquaculture businesses.

“If you talk to people who are seafood aficionados, New Brunswick has a great reputation for the fact that we bring our seafood out of really cold, clear, clean waters,” Johnson says. “Our lobster has a very solid meat texture. It’s got good chew, as the foodies say.”

She says New Brunswick producers also make a visually appealing product which is also of high importance to European and Asian markets.

Johnson says developing these in-person relationships with markets overseas is an important part of New Brunswick’s strategy.

“Good news travels fast. The fact they’ve already built these relationships with our marketing and trade team is great. The networking that goes on within the seafood industry is very, very broad,” she says. “We’re hoping this good news spreads far and wide so that we can access continued diversified markets.”

Minister Johnson was not the only member of the government to meet with the delegation.  Minister responsible for the Francophone Glen Savoie, Minister responsible for the Regional Development Corporation Réjean Savoie and Conservative MLA Cathy Blockus also all spent time with delegation members, growing relationships to strengthen the trade ties between the province and the European nation.

This visit follows on the heels of the province’s appearance at the Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona in April which saw 30 exhibitors from across Atlantic Canada travel to Spain to promote their products. New Brunswick seafood exports to Europe increased by 84% in 2022, the largest growth of any region. In 2022 the European Union and the United Kingdom accounted for over $71 million in seafood exports from the picture province.

Seafood export sales from New Brunswick totalled $1.8 billion in 2022. The agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries industries in New Brunswick employ more than 17,000 people.

Alex Graham is a reporter with Huddle, an Acadia Broadcasting content partner.


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