The region’s first dedicated seafood trade show, SEAFEX, looks set to make waves when it launches on Nov.19-21, 2012 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Fish and seafood are a perennial menu favourite in almost every culture around the world including the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), In a multi-billion dollar industry with a current annual global output of 145 million metric tonnes of seafood, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation, seafood producers are increasingly looking to the Middle East for business growth. This lucrative market with its diverse mix of nationalities and cultures has a strong preference for seafood. The UAE consumes more than 50kg of fish and seafood products per capita per year according to Asmak International Fish Farming Company while the Emirates Wildlife Society’s recent surveys show that 66 per cent of the UAE population eats fish at least once a week. Another example of the Middle East’s growing taste for seafood gastronomy is the 114 per cent growth in 2010 for Scottish Salmon, making the UAE the second-fastest growing market for the product in the world. Data from the Scottish Government reveals that Scotland has experienced a massive 55 per cent rise in food and beverage exports to the UAE, increasing to $80 million in the first half of 2011. Organised by the Dubai World Trade Centre, with its experienced Gulfood team bringing more than 25 years of expertise, industry knowledge and connections to SEAFEX, the show covers the full spectrum of the seafood industry, from the fresh catch to the consumer’s plate, as well as cold storage, shipping and logistics solutions. “Seafood is one of the fastest growing segments in the global food industry, with several of our regional markets in the world’s top 10 in terms of consumption. We are therefore delighted to be offering a dedicated and comprehensive platform for both suppliers and buyers to source products, develop new supply chains and enjoy valuable networking opportunities at SEAFEX,” said Trixee Loh, Senior Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre. “Given the team’s expertise in organising Gulfood, the world’s largest annual food trade show, we have no doubt that SEAFEX will enjoy immediate success in facilitating the showcasing and supply of this speciality food for retail, Food & Beverage and the hospitality industries in our region.” The three-day event will showcase the catch of the day from the world’s leading names in the seafood industry, with confirmed participation from over 51 exhibitors and 21 national pavilions including Canada, China, Cyprus, Greece, Libya, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Peru, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, Yemen, and Vietnam. According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), seafood products shipped to the Middle East have increased in value from USD192 million in 2009 to $258 million in 2011. Vietnam is boosting seafood exports to the UAE, Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Kuwait, and has confirmed that not only is the UAE the country’s largest customer, it also serves as a crucial gateway for transporting goods to other Middle Eastern and North African nations. Vietnam’s participation at SEAFEX will further facilitate its fast growing trade.