The 30th International Boston Seafood Show/Seafood Processing America event “has become a cherished tradition for our visitor industry along with Opening Day at Fenway Park, the Boston Marathon and the Boston POPS Fourth of July concert,” according to Pat Moscaritolo, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The 2011 show was the largest in years, with more than 17,000 people attending from more than 130 countries.
Boston restaurants and merchants typically record more than $25 million in spending that week, Moscaritolo added, plus $3.7 million in hotel revenue.
Mary Larkin, VP of seafood expositions for Diversified Business Communications, the producer of the event, noted, “The 2011 event is already reflecting an improving economy with more exhibits and the true global focus of the industry with more products on offer.”
The show features approximately 900 exhibitors in more than 1,700 booths representing all facets of the seafood industry including fresh, frozen, live, value-added, branded and private label, as well as processing equipment and services ranging from machinery to refrigeration.
At this year’s show, the Seafood Excellence Awards were presented to St. James Smokehouse Inc. and Dish Hospitality Pvt Ltd.
St. James Smokehouse’s St. James Scotch Reserve Smoked Salmon Infused with Hendrick’s Scottish Gin & Tonic was named the best new retail product, while Dish Hospitality’s Prawn Lollipops were named best new foodservice product.
The winners were selected from a group of finalists during a live judging by a panel of seafood buyers and experts from the retail and foodservice industries. This year’s judges included Joe Koran, senior category development manager-seafood for Foodbuy; Ken Henessey, seafood category manager, Hannaford Bros. and Sweetbay Supermarkets; and Will Wadsworth, culinary development chef, Mitchell’s Fish Market.
At the Oyster Shucking Competition during the show that pitted 17 challengers against the one another, Jorge Hernandez from Seattle was crowned fastest shucker.
Hernandez is now considered the fastest shucker in the East—a title that was held for four consecutive years by William “Chopper” Young, who was not able to attend this year. Hernandez won the $500 award for shucking about a dozen oysters in just over 1 minute and 36 seconds.
Deborah Pratt of Jamaica, Va., came in second; Edward Bolus of Providence, R.I., got third; Daniel Notkin of Montreal, Quebec, came in fourth; and Gordon Weldon of St. Peters, Pa., netted fifth place in the national competition.
The Annual Oyster Shucking Contest oyster sponsors were Naked Cowboy Oysters, which donated Atlantic oysters, and Ocean Crystal Seafood, donating Pacific oysters.