Why go to the Boston Seafood Show?

Seafood Expo North America, SENA24 aka the Boston Seafood Show is yet again upon us. Last minute stragglers must make a decision in the next few weeks, as bookings for hotel and flights see an uptick due to the 20,000 or seafood professionals that attend or exhibit at the show. Buyers and suppliers from around the world attend SENA to meet, network and do business.

Do I go? Is it worth the time and energy?

An event like SENA is a disruptor. Without a doubt, whether exhibiting or just attending, unless you live in the vicinity, it creates a noticeable disruption in your daily routine. Not only does the logistics of your stay need to be decided on, you have to prepare for several days’ absence from home and office. Meetings and family plans postponed, workload reassigned, customer’s notified, colleagues relied upon. These are all part of the disruption mix, including deciding what items to bring in the suitcase, the business cards to order and promotional material printed. The time, energy, attention spent in participating in Boston Seafood Show SENA 2024 will likely result in a pattern interrupt of your personal and business routine.

Yet disruption can and often is a good thing. It brings new opportunities, a change in perspective, second chances. If you need a change of pace, to get out and see a bit of our industry’s full marketing glory. To see a bit of the world and come back inspired. Then the Boston Seafood Show SENA2024 is worth considering.

For me personally, coming from Vancouver YVR, there are no direct flights to Boston BOS. The flight itself is a bit more involved. Three of the seven times I’ve participated in the show there were flight cancellations due to weather. On two of these occasions I had to overnight in Denver and Toronto turning an 8-hour return flight into a multi day adventure. On one occasion I was snowed in over Saint Patrick’s Day and night in Boston, which resulted in some memorable forgetting.

Does participating in SENA 2024 bring in business?

It definitely brings in business cards. There is no other seafood event with the exception of the European Seafood Expo that provides more opportunity for networking in the industry. Though over the past decade the use of physical business cards has been replaced by iphone contact cards, it’s an opportunity to beef up one’s rolodex / contact list. North Americans and others from fishing countries all across the globe are looking for opportunities. You may also find it a convenient place to meet with colleagues from your home town, or long term customers from abroad. However rarely do new business deals close at the show unless they have been reviewed prior. My experience with the show has been lots of ‘tire kicking’ and deals are closed after the fact.

How busy do you want to be?

SENA is an extraordinary networking environment, where a random discussion with a fellow exhibitor or attendee can be the spark for your next business venture or supply chain. Getting ready for the show, being at the show and then following up with all the leads and interesting discussions you may have had. The whole process can take 3 weeks or more out of your working life. You may find that a few months after SENA your business is back to its usual routine and the promises and hopes from the show never really materialized. But that is the risk of business and the seafood game we are in. You have to cast your net in order to reap the reward.


Any foray out into the world will have risks. SENA provides an opportunity for your competitors to see what you are up to. If you are exhibiting and your booth is in proximity to your competitors, such as in a state or country pavilion the happy conversations you are having with people and the name badge everyone is wearing makes close held business relationships more public.

In terms of personal safety, SENA is a safe environment. It is the business to business crowd, yet always a good idea not to bring anything you can’t afford to lose. If anything you risk getting sore feet as there tends to be lots of walking and standing throughout the day. Comfortable shoes are recommended.

Smokey Bay Seafood is exhibiting at Boston Seafood Expo North America SENA2024 on March 10-12, 2024. Visit our Booth #1433 in the British Columbia Pavilion.