Peter Pan Seafoods has pulled out of Seafood Expo North American, set for March 13-15 in Boston, citing concerns for the health of their employees and fishing industry partners in the midst of a rapid increase of people testing positive to variants of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Chief growth officer Rodger May announced the company’s decision on Tuesday, Jan. 11, citing the rising number of COVID-19 cases nationwide, including nearly 1.5 million new cases on just one day, Jan. 10.
Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, a perennial participate in the Boston event, still is taking a wait and see approach. Megan Rider, ASMI’s domestic marketing director, said “As the situation continues to change daily, we are staying in close contact with the show organizers and our industry partners, in addition to monitoring public health recommendations to guide our potential presence at SENA in Boston. The health and safety of our staff and fellow industry members is our first priority.”
May said it was not an easy decision and one that the company will lose money on, having already made investments in this year’s event, while rolling out the company’s new look and brand.
“For us, it boils down to what we’ve been saying all along – nothing is more important than the health and safety of our team, our partners and our loved ones,” May said. “Attending this show, while it would be good for business, is not worth putting our employees, partners or loved ones at risk.”
Seafood Expo North America, billed as the biggest seafood show in North America, annually attracts thousands of people interested in selling and buying seafood.
Company officials said they’ve continued to take the pandemic very seriously, with a number of safety measures including vaccinations for all employees and masks required inside all facilities. The company is operating all of its processing facilities as closed campuses, which means once employees arrive on campus they can only leave for emergencies and that all visitors are limited.
The deal in which Peter Pan Seafood a vertically integrated seafood firm, was purchased from Maruha Capital Investments, a subsidiary of Maruha Nichiro Corp. in Japan, was finalized on Dec. 31, 2020. The ownership group includes May, of Northwest Fish, the Na’-NukInvestment Fund, LP (managed by McKinley Alaska Private Investment, LLC and McKinley Capital Management, LLC), and the RRG Global Partners Fund (managed by RRG Capital Management, LLC).