NASF CEO Andre Akse previews NASF 2024:
Where High-Tech meets Handshakes
With more than 1,000 industry leaders expected to attend, next year’s North Atlantic Seafood Forum (NASF) is gearing up to be the largest event yet. As anticipation builds, NASF CEO Andre Akse took time out to share his vision for NASF 2024.
“Following the COVID pandemic, there were questions about the future of a conference like this,” acknowledges the industry veteran, reflecting on the uncertainties that gripped the event industry. “But in March this year, we had the biggest turnout ever,” he continues. “The feedback was very positive. So, despite people being a little bit unsure about the essence of a conference like this, it turns out there is apparently still a big need to meet in person.”
As part of its renewed sense of purpose, NASF is embarking on a mission to fortify its reputation as the go-to event for the latest technological developments, ensuring that top executives remain up-to-date with the latest technological advancements in the sector.
“NASF offers a networking experience like no other, uniting top-level decision-makers from across the globe in one place,” says Akse.
One tangible reflection of this commitment is the introduction of the Tech Aquaculture session, offering attendees an express route to discover new solutions directly relevant to their roles.
“What we have found out is that these top managers, they don’t work a lot with technology,” reveals the NASF director. “They have other people that work with technology. But when they come to us, many of them find it quite useful to get a really well presented summary of the latest developments, without getting bogged down in meetings.”
Beyond technology, NASF is unveiling sessions dedicated to breeding and wild catch technologies, recognizing their pivotal roles in shaping the industry’s future. “We are introducing sessions that address pressing issues in the seafood industry,” Akse says. “It’s important for those at the top to be able to get abreast of the big issues without getting bogged down with detail.”
One notable addition is a session focused on global warming, where experts will delve into the industry-altering changes anticipated in the next five to six years. “To be frank, we are concerned about global warming, but 30 years is a long time. So we are asking what is actually now, and what do we need to be aware of,” says Akse. “We believe this is vital as it allows us to focus on the immediate challenges posed by climate change.”
NASF is also unveiling a breeding session to highlight the ongoing innovations in this area and a session exploring alternative feed sources for aquaculture, a critical aspect of ensuring long-term sustainability.
For years, NASF has found its home in Bergen, a city steeped in seafood heritage and conveniently located near major seafood companies. But why is NASF regarded as an indispensable rendezvous for the seafood industry, and what kind of attendees can one expect to encounter?
“Bergen’s seafood heritage and its proximity to major seafood companies make it an ideal location for NASF,” the NASF CEO says. “It’s a place where top CEOs, investors, consultants, and professionals from around the world come together. It’s a platform where high-level decision-makers meet to discuss critical industry topics.”
And while – over the years – NASF has undergone significant transformations, the conference still continues to evolve, and the event has embraced digital advances:
“We have continuously improved the technical aspects of the conference to cater to the needs of top managers, enabling higher-quality presentations and discussions,” Akse notes. “The conference provides endless opportunities for attendees to connect, share ideas, and learn from industry experts.”
And that appeal to the industry’s top brass, is ultimately the strength of the Bergen-based event says the CEO, who when asked to summarize the conference, says simply: “NASF is where the industry’s top CEOs, investors, and experts gather to discuss the most pressing issues and innovations of the day.”