Running from June 9-19, the 10th Annual BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival kicked off last week in the Comox Valley. As the largest of its kind in Western Canada, the festival offers attendees eleven days of chef demonstrations, gala dinners, educational seminars, aquaculture tours, and more – celebrating the B.C.’s seafood industry, producers and its bounty.
With a focus on sharing information and creating discussions around innovations, challenges and opportunities around the west coast’s seafood sector the festival kicked off with the BC Seafood Expo, which took place on June 9th and 10th. This event was designed to showcase over 30 local and international speakers, bringing educators together with leading aquaculture businesses & suppliers, seafood producers, chefs, and exporters. Presenters covered a wide range of topics from sustainability/certifications to consumer trends, with featured keynote presentations by Dr. Dick Beamish, It Is Time To Discover How Salmon Survive In The Ocean and Chef Barton Seaver, How BC Seafood Contributes to Sustainability & Healthy Food Systems.
Setting education aside, the evening of June 9th represented the official opening reception, held on the grounds of the Old House Hotel, with a lobster dinner menu catered by Locals Restaurant. Over 200 people including the Minister of Agriculture, Norm Letnick, attended this event.
On Friday, June 10th the grounds of the Old House Hotel were transformed into a cocktail style atmosphere for Fresh Fest. As one of the signature events for the BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival, the evening featured some B.C.’s best chefs showcasing their seafood culinary creations, which were all paired with B.C. VQA wine. In addition, Vancouver Island’s talented musician, Luke Blu Guthrie, entertained over 200 attendees with original, soulful music throughout the evening.
Moving into the weekend, the BC Salmon Farmers Association hosted several farm tours for 46 international buyers, 13 BC Seafood Expo delegates, and 8 international media representatives. All groups were treated to a salmon BBQ lunch, as part of their “west coast” experience. In addition, the Association hosted two sold out public tours with 10 participants on each tour. Due to the popular demand, additional public tours are scheduled for June 17, June 30, July 21 and August 11.
The BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival will continue this week with a variety of events, including the signature Comox by the Sea Celebration at Filberg Heritage Lodge & Park on Saturday, June 18th. The BC Salmon Farmers Association is proud to be participating for a third year in this great “foodie” event. Over 1000 people are expected to attend this year’s event, which features cooking demonstrations, tasting stations, the Fanny Bay Oyster Shucking Championship and the Oceanwise Chowder Challenge.
There is no better way to celebrate Seafood Month than being a part of the BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival. We appreciate the support of our members and volunteers who contributed (and are continuing to contribute) to the success of this year’s involvement in the festival. We would like to recognize Cermaq Canada, Marine Harvest Canada, Creative Salmon, Grieg Seafood BC, Golden Eagle Group, Lois Lake Steelhead and Hardy Buoys. In addition, the Association would also like to recognize our non-member partners: Wines of British Columbia, Pentlatch Seafoods, Fanny Bay Oysters, Salt Spring Island Mussels, Northern Divine Aquafarms and Discover Comox Valley. Thanks to everyone for helping us make the festival a success.