- Division of Marine Fisheries
The Division’s Seafood Marketing Program primarily focuses on consumer education and events, but in 2019 the seafood marketing steering committee suggested facilitating a business-to-business event to network buyers and sellers of local seafood. We planned an in-person networking event at the annual Seafood Expo North America (SENA) convention but then pivoted to a virtual event due to COVID-19.
“Navigating Massachusetts Seafood” was held over Zoom on May 4, and hosted 32 buyers and 17 sellers of local seafood. The registration data collected indicated that most of the buyers had never attended the SENA. The group was spread out over many sectors: restaurant groups, universities, chefs, retail stores, hospitals, and others. Geographically, they mostly came from inside of the Commonwealth, but not all.
The event began with a presentation from DMF Seafood Marketing Coordinator, Wendy Mainardi. The buyers and sellers then met with each other in private break-out rooms for ten-minute sessions. All meeting attendees returned to the main room for a door prize drawing: a tour of Plymouth Rock Oyster Farm with owner Bill Doyle.
Outreach to buyers and event organization was done by the Williams Agency. The event was a great success based on industry feedback. While there are some benefits to hosting a virtual event, similar efforts in the future will probably resume in the original form: a breakfast meeting at the Seafood Expo.
By Wendy Mainardi, Seafood Marketing Coordinator