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China show blog: Ecuadorian shrimp prices hike 15% ahead of Chinese New Year

IntraFish, the official media sponsor of the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo, is blogging live from the Qingdao International Expo Center. Follow along here!

Friday Nov. 3, 1.46 p.m. CST

Is Argentina putting all its eggs in one basket?

Having gone from landings of 45,000 metric tons of Argentinean shrimp to way more than 200,000 metric tons in a few years has its pros and its cons, said Juan Emilio D’Antonio, head of sales at Argentinean seafood processor Frigorifico del Sud Este.

“Everyone is doing it, and it’s normal because prices are very good and demand is increasing, but what happens if the market changes and you have lost marketshare in other sector?” D’Antonio said.

Fishing is abundant, but that could change from one year to the next, especially since it is wild catch and biomass research is not fully developed in the country.

Click here to read the full story.

---Lola Navarro

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Friday Nov, 3, 1.29 p.m. CST

Ecuadorian shrimp prices spike 15% ahead of Chinese New Year

It’s been a busy show for Ecuadorian shrimp exporters, but there has been some hesitation from the markets as Ecuadorian prices are 15 percent higher this quarter, Sandro Coglitore, CEO of Ecuador’s Omarsa, told IntraFish.

“Although we will end up with record volumes this year, temperatures are lower than usual and harvests in the last quarter will be lower than expected; sizes will also be affected.

“I hope and expect the markets can absorb the increase," he said.

"It should be the case because we have Christmas and then the Chinese New Year coming up, so within two weeks people will have to make a decision if they want to have the product.”

--Lola Navarro

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Friday, Nov. 3, 12.40 p.m. CST

Smokin' a path to a new market

Shanghai-based Hollywin is on a “long path” to converting the Chinese to smoked salmon, but if it can do it, there is a likely a pot of gold at the end.

It is rare to see such a strong focus on brand and value-addition in China, and with a huge restaurant style chalkboard of its products and colorful, modern labeling, Hollywin’s booth stands apart from the crowd.

The company imports around 3000 metric tons of farmed frozen salmon from Chile, Norway and the Faroe Islands each year, along with around 1000 metric tons of fresh Chilean salmon and roughly 600 metric tons of rainbow trout.

---Rachel Mutter

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Friday, Nov. 3, 10.55 a.m. CST

Pollock roe, anyone?

Domestic consumption of Alaskan seafood in China is growing and the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) is seeing more of its products in Chinese retailers.

ASMI’s Robin Wang said demand is growing farther inland due to “improvements in cold-chain distribution.”

“We're also trying to introduce new products, like pollock roe. It's relatively new. It's usually just garnish but it's a high volume and value product in Alaska so we're trying to push it into China,” he told IntraFish.

--- Kim Tran

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Friday, Nov. 3, 10.48 a.m. CST

Farming salmon in China

Can you farm Atlantic salmon on land in China? Several in China are doing it and some say there are “mixed results.”

Oriental Ocean and Mingze Aqua joined a panel discussion Thursday during Danske Bank and CAPPMA’s Sino-Norwegian Seafood forum. Also contributing to panel talks were companies developing offshore aquaculture in China.

Norwegian and Chinese firms have collaborated to move this industry forward in China. However, the major hurdles included industrializing and modernizing technology as well as communication issues due to cultural differences.

--- Kim Tran

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Friday, Nov. 3, 10.18 a.m. CST

Strong price outlook for Argentinean shrimp

The boom of the Argentinean red shrimp sector is set to continue and maintain high prices as demand keeps increasing in key markets, Mariano Retrivi, CEO of Argentinean fishing company Buena Proa told IntraFish.

The company has two shrimp trawlers geared for harvesting fish too, and is in partnership with UK group Ocean Seafoods for the distribution of its products into the European and Asian markets. In return, Buena Proa commercializes Ocean Seafoods’ products in South America.

Buena Proa has recently started processing in a new plant in Puerto Madrin, south of Argentina, where they land the product, to reduce transport time.

The plant is owned by a third party operator that signed an agreement with the producer for its shrimp volumes.

“There has been a huge increase in demand, landings are very good but demand is large enough to maintain strong prices, it’s a very good moment for the Argentinean fleet,” Retrivi said.

--Lola Navarro

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Thursday, Nov. 2, 5.13 p.m. CST

Rolling with the big boys

Numbers in China never cease to amaze.

Hangzhou-based Zhejiang Ocean Family is trading 9 million metric tons of seafood a year, sourcing 40,000-50,000 metric tons of raw material from its own three fishing fleets and buying from a host of other domestic and international suppliers.

Vessels include 18 large-scale super frozen longline tuna fishing vessels, two groups of large tuna purse-seining vessels and nine large squid fishing vessels.

It also owns three huge processing plants -- a super frozen tuna processing and logistics base in Beilun, a canned tuna processing base in Xikou, Fenghua and another assorted food processing factory in Xiaoshan, Hangzhou.

The annual processing capacity of the two tuna factories is an astounding 100,000 metric tons.

As if their own catches aren’t enough, the company also imports shrimp, crab, scallops, salmon and trout from Argentina, Ecuador and Japan, supplying largely chilled product to the domestic market, with some small frozen tuna exports to Japan, said Sales Manager Gao Zhechao.

---Rachel Mutter

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Thursday, Nov. 2, 5.03 p.m. CST

Raising salmon's profile

Chinese seafood processing, retail and distribution company Rich Group is focusing on the sale of Alaska salmon, although it is seeing a big potential in farmed salmon as well.

The company processes chum salmon, Alaska pollock, tilapia, redfish and some Chilean salmon, which it imports frozen.

“There is a natural preference for wild salmon, and for us, it is the most profitable species, but there is an increasing awareness of the benefits of salmon, so I see how farmed salmon has a lot of potential,” Easy Lin, sales and purchasing manager at the company, said.

The company’s turnover is around $100 million a year, it has facilities in Russia, Denmark and Hong Kong to distribute to all its markets.

At the moment, 50 percent of its volumes go to China and 50 percent overseas, and it has five seafood retailers in Dalian, in northern China, a good platform for know-how campaigns for local consumers.

“Salmon is not naturally in the Chinese diet, so we need to include it, show people how to cook it and adjust it to their meals,” Lin said.

There is an increasing awareness of the health benefits of salmon, and people are including it more and more in their diets, especially families with kids, she said.

--Lola Navarro

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Thursday, Nov. 2, 4.03 p.m. CST

Tibetan trout farming winning over Chinese consumers

The last time IntraFish caught up with perhaps the China Seafood Show’s most unusual venture -- a 300 cage rainbow trout farm on the Tibetan plains -- it was at 5,000 metric tons with aims to hit 10,000 the following year.

While it hasn’t quite made its target, the farm is growing fast, producing around 8,000 metric tons this year and aims to ramp up to 20,000 metric tons by 2020.

Qinghai-based Lonyang airfreights its trout, gutted, within 24 hours of harvest to distributors across China for sale into horeca and retail outlets and across China’s e-commerce platforms.

According to International Trade Manager Mirko Marinovic, the company has begun on Global GAP certification and is looking also at Aquaculture Marine Stewardship Council (ASC) certification as demand for traceable, safe, environmentally sustainable seafood skyrockets.

“I think it will be impossible to sell anything without ASC in five to six years,” said Marinovic.

Click here to read the full story.

---Rachel Mutter

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Thursday, Nov. 2, 3.11 p.m. CST

Chinese processor meets increasing demand with new plant

Chinese seafood processor Yantai Five Star Foods is seeing a stable demand f MSC cod in Europe and a n increasing demand of Illex and Pacific squid in China and overseas.

The company recently invested in the construction of a new processing plant in Rongcheng city after 10 years of processing.

“We needed to increase our capacity, we have much raw material coming in and also needed additional storage space, we see demand increasing,” Jacky Woo, director general of Five Star Foods, told IntraFish.

The company processes around 7,000 metric tons of MSC-certified cod from Russia and Norway, and 25,000 metric tons of squid mainly from North Korea and the Chinese Sea.

According to Woo, demand of squid is increasing in different markets, especially in China for round squid and in other countries in Asia and abroad, where buyers demand cleaned, treated product.

--Lola Navarro

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Thursday, Nov. 2, 2.04 p.m. CST

Rising whitefish prices don't phase this mega-importer

The credit purchase budget for the biggest of Shandong Ocean International’s six buyer factories, Lian Yang International, is $7 million (€6 million) a month, giving some clue to the size of the significant Chinese trader.

Importing Pacific and Atlantic cod, plus Alaska pollock and a “small amount” of Alaskan wild salmon and tuna and selling on to some of China’s largest processing factories, the company also owns one factory of its own, processing cod in Qingdao.

According to Senior Manager of Processing and Trade Dai Li, whitefish prices have been rising on a supply shortage, but its middleman status gives it the enviable position of simply passing on the cost to its processing partners.

-- Rachel Mutter

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Thursday, Nov. 2, 1.22 p.m. CST

Time for a change?

Yantai Chenyang Food must be one of the few Chinese companies yet to take advantage of the domestic market, despite admitting prices in its home country would probably be better.

The company is importing 1,000 metric tons of cod and haddock from Russia and Norway, processing it through two Yantai lease factories for re-export to Europe, the United States and Australia.

While the company is also doing small amounts of squid, Sales Manager Ellen Tian said to work with the domestic market, they would need a different product range.

---Rachel Mutter

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Thursday, Nov. 2, 1.18 p.m. CST

Chinese conglomerate swallows up China Starfish

JoyvioAgri, the protein arm of Chinese conglomerate Legend Holdings, acquired Qingdao based China Starfish in July this year, expanding its seafood footprint into coldwater shrimp.

China Starfish is, according to official customs data, the largest coldwater shrimp importer and distributor in China, also selling more than 30 wild caught species including pollock, Argentinian red shrimp, red fish, toothfish and plaice.

Joyvio Group also owns Huawen Food, a leading manufacturing and branding corporation in China, producing fish jerky snacks and soy snacks under the JinZai and BoWeiYuan brands, among others. Huawen sells to consumers via over 1,000 distributors and 100,000 sales outlets.

Click here to read the full story.

-- Rachel Mutter

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Thursday, Nov. 2, 1.02 p.m. CST

The value-added difference

Vietnamese shrimp exports are expected to reach $3.7 billion by the end of this year, a 10 percent growth.

"There are many opportunities in the European market for shrimp, especially value-added shrimp," said VASEP General Secretary To Thi Tuong Lan.

"India and Indonesia are strong with raw material supply so we want to differentiate with value-added products."

--- Kim Tran

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Thursday, Nov. 2, 12.59 p.m. CST

Trident readies new VAP line for China

Trident Seafoods has a line of new products ready for launch into the Chinese market. The packaging is developed with this market in mind, with both English and Chinese printed on it.

The skin-pack Alaskan products include: pollock portions, sablefish steaks, sablefish portions, sockeye salmon portions and cod portions.

The company is planning on selling it first through several e-commerce channels and then hopes to expand to Chinese retailers.

--- Kim Tran

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Thursday, Nov. 2, 12.49 p.m. CST

China surpasses Europe in pangasius market

Vietnamese pangasius exports will be flat this year reaching $1.7 million. However, China is snapping up pangasius more than ever.

"Last year our top three markets for pangasius was US, Europe and China. Now it's US, China and then Europe," said VASEP General Secretary To Thi Tuong Lan.

Pangasius production has been flat as well in the last three years with 1.2 million - 1.4 million metric tons per year.

"The price was up this year because supply was down," she told IntraFish. "The government wants to increase production volume to maintain quality and our markets. Before, developing the Chinese market was hard, but now we want to increase production."

--- Kim Tran

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Thursday, Nov. 2, 12.35 p.m. CST

E-commerce stepping stone

Maine-based Greenhead Lobster got its feet wet in the Asian market six years ago and is now finding success through e-commerce seafood site Gfresh.

"It let us build brand recognition and once customers see the quality of our products, they're coming to us to directly," said Dan Philips, who heads up sales for the company.

Currently about 5-8 percent of its lobster sales are in China -- mainly Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou -- and the company is looking to expand to Qingdao and Xaimen.

--- Kim Tran

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Thursday, Nov. 2, 12.03 p.m. CST

Gfresh enters MoU with Chinese firm

Chinese seafood e-commerce firm Gfresh and Chinese company Dalian Longhan signed an MoU agreement on Thursday.

To commemorate the occasion, the companies hosted a demonstration with the live filleting and portioning of a Nagasaki bluefin tuna.

Gfresh also announced a deal with the Marine Stewardship Council on Wednesday.

--- Kim Tran

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Thursday, Nov. 2, 11.45 a.m. CST

Want Europe? Get that ASC first

Vietnamese shrimp firm Seaprimexco Vietnam has two-star Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification for its shrimp, through its farms and factory, but it sees now that the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) stamp is critical for Europe.

"We got the BAP rating for the US market," Seaprimexco Sales Manager Bui Vinh Hoang Chuong, told IntraFish. "But in recent years, Europe started wanting ASC certification."

The company has typically sold 20-25 percent of its shrimp to Europe, but in recent years, it's fallen to 5-10 percent because of the rising European demand for the ASC stamp.

The number of Vietnamese companies applying for ASC certification is increasing to get into the European market, VASEP General Secretary To Thi Tuong Lan told IntraFish.

--- Kim Tran

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Thursday, Nov. 2, 11.15 a.m. CST

Mitsui secures Multiexport's position in Asia

Chilean farmer Multiexport -- the largest producer of Atlantic salmon in the country in 2016 and so far this year -- is also the largest individual Chilean salmon exporter to China.

The company produced 65,000 metric tons of Atlantic salmon last year, and exports to China in some months reach 10 percent of its production, Multiexport CEO Andres Lyon told IntraFish.

Demand at the moment is high, but exports to the country very much depend on size fluctuations from other countries.

“China wants big sizes, mostly 6 kg plus, and sometimes when the harvest is 4.8 kg to 5.1 kg salmon it is hard to meet their requests, but that depends on what sizes other countries are harvesting,” Lyon said.

Multiexport only exports fresh, whole salmon to China, and has a strong position in the country in part due to the participation of Mitsui and its presence in the markets.

“We have access to other clients, we are able to distribute through channels that other farmers don’t have access to in Asia, and we also are in a good position to create and maintain relationships with customers,” Lyon said.

-- Lola Navarro

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Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2.45 p.m. CST

Moving farther on land

Chinese seafood e-commerce site Gfresh is expecing year-on-year growth with more than CNY 1 billion in sales so far this year while last year ended with roughly CNY 1 billion, said Gfresh International Business Development Yiling Lu.

"We want an office located in a city with direct international flights access," said Lu, adding that they're considering Chongqing, because the company already ships there.

---Kim Tran

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Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2.30 p.m. CST

Taking another step forward

Seattle and China-based seafood processor Chang International Owner Jerry Chang and Leroy Seafood Director of Market and Business Development Ashild Nakken signed a strategic cooperation agreement Wednesday evening.

The two signed an MoU last year and this is to show further commitment between the two firms. Thanks to this partnership, Leroy's frozen products are currently in Chinese retailers.

---Kim Tran

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Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2.00 p.m. CST

Cooke lines up e-commerce deal in China

Cooke Aquaculture launched new value-added products recently, and next week it will hit the online market in China. The four new products were also picked up by US retailers in the last two months.

Two of the four products -- scallops and Atlantic salmon -- will hit the Chinese market through JD.com on Nov. 11, Singles Day, a major shopping day in China.

Click here to read the full story.

---Kim Tran

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Wednesday, Nov. 1, 1.56 p.m. CST

Looking at China through new eyes

Japanese seafood giant Nissui is trying to re-angle its perspective on China.

“We have a tendency to look at China just as a processor,” Hisanori Kanno, international sales and business development manager at the company, explained.

“But this is our biggest challenge for our company right now… to change our viewpoint."

Nissui has several strategic alliances in China in terms of import, export, processing and distribution. Its subsidiary, Qingdao Nissui, is selling imported product to the Japanese restaurant sector in China, but the mainstream market – supermarkets, online and the Chinese restaurant sector – still eludes the Japanese behemoth.

And with the Japanese market “saturated”, getting serious in the world’s biggest seafood market, right on its doorstep is important for Nissui. And this is what has prompted the company to exhibit at the China Fisheries & Seafood Expo the last three years – to research the Chinese consumer market.

Click here to read the full story .

---Rachel Mutter

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Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2.43 p.m. CST

Chilean salmon looks to get on China's e-commerce wagon

Chilean commercial venture New World Currents is in talks with a number of companies to step up on value-added production and online sales, Eduardo Goycoolea, president of the group, told IntraFish.

At the moment, NWC brings and sells whole salmon -- 50 percent frozen and 50 percent fresh -- in China, but the rapid growth of e-commerce in the country is pushing producers to enter the value-added segment here.

“[The process] is a bit slower than we initially thought it would be, but the opportunity is massive, it makes sense because there is a very fast distribution channel for online orders, e-commerce is increasing more here than anywhere,” Goycoolea said.

--Lola Navarro

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Wednesday, Nov. 1, 1.56 p.m. CST

Chinese demand drives pangasius prices through the roof

While processors complain of lack of supply in the Vietnamese pangasius market, the real issue is apparently more to do with an expectation of higher prices.

Increased Chinese interest in the product have seen prices inflate to VND 29,000 per kilo, around 30 percent higher than the price it should be at, according to Jean-Charles Diener, director at Vietnam-based seafood inspection and market intelligence company OFCO.

Click here to read the full story .

---Rachel Mutter

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Wednesday, Nov. 1, 1.48 p.m. CST

Leroy unveils high-end brand in China

Norwegian salmon farmer and seafood processor Leroy Seafood launched a new premium brand in China named Norway SeaFoods for e-commerce and traditional supermarkets.

The brand is launched in partnership with Chinese company Qingdao Spring Seafoods, which also processes Leroy’s whitefish for its own labelled product.

The new range – vacuum packs of both Leroy’s cod and salmon – will be sold at around CNY 150 in 300 g packs, something “quite expensive,” but for which there is a market in China.

“We are targeting high-end consumers, the product is processed and packed in Norway, and it will be sold across China, where people are increasingly demanding high quality products,” the general manager at Qingdao Spring Seafoods told IntraFish.

The company sells only Norwegian fish, and it sees this as another step into its strategy to promote the Norwegian brand in China.

“We want to sell the best cod, and we want people to know it is the best, that’s why we have partnered with Leroy,” he said.

The plan is to ship 10 containers of 15 metric tons in the first year to China, and to grow in the future.

The products are available from November on a number of online and offline retailers including Ole, Cofco, Hisense and JD.com.

--Lola Navarro

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Wednesday, Nov. 1, 13.25 p.m. CST

Vietnam a long way off being real competition

IntraFish has heard from several processors at the show that, while there has been growth in Vietnam's whitefish processing industry, the country is not a big threat to China's reprocessing crown.

Well, they would say that, of course, but it is evident that while labor prices are lower, capacity is nowhere near that of China and logistics are also not up to speed.

"The cost per person is cheaper, but they need some skills," said Beiyang Jiamei Seafood’s Ella Wang. “There is less productivity and still a lot of infrastructure improvements to be made.”

Haimai Seafood’s Sun Liang Jie agreed, saying that while labor costs were certainly increasing, China has “other advantages,” over somewhere like Vietnam, such as quality of processing and factory capacity.

-- Rachel Mutter

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Wednesday, Nov. 1, 13.15 p.m. CST

Calling all coldwater shrimp suppliers!

There is room for growth in China’s burgeoning coldwater shrimp market, according to Sun Liang Jie, general manager at Haimai Seafood, subsidiary of processing giant China Starfish.

As the market’s "biggest importer", present in the market for the last 14 years, Haimai imported 60,000 metric tons of shrimp last year and sold it 20,000 metric tons of it for RMB 800 million into the Chinese market.

No small sum, but there is room for growth, according to Jie, who has seen only small increases in supply from Canada and Denmark the last few years, but price a steadily increasing price.

---Rachel Mutter

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Wednesday, Nov. 1, 12.48 p.m. CST

Beating the traffic

For anyone who visits the China Fisheries Show, the word ‘traffic’ can take on many bad associations.

For Beiyang Jiamei Seafood Manager Ella Wang, “traffic” in the Chinese market is prompting the need for innovation.

“We are doing a lot of things to improve price – quality, packaging, products,” she told IntraFish.

Exclusive Chinese partner company of Denmark’s Kangamiut and Alimex Seafood – both part of Kangamiut Holdings -- Beiyang Jiamei’s mainstay is coldwater shrimp and whitefish, imported from Europe and processed for both the Chinese market and re-export.

Altogether, it imports CNY 6 billion worth of product, according to Wang, a third of which is coldwater shrimp.

It processes its whitefish imports -- mostly Pacific and Atlantic cod, Greenland halibut and plaice -- in its two Qingdao factories, also leasing space from competitors to expand capacity.

It is also looking to expand its offering to lobster, mussels and crab to add value.It is also looking to expand its offering to lobster, mussels and crab to add value.

-- Rachel Mutter

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Wednesday, Nov. 1, 11.45 a.m. CST

Ecuadorian processors gear up for Chinese New Year

The last quarter of the year is a crucial period for those exporting seafood to the Chinese market, and the Seafood Show is a good opportunity for finalizing deals.

For Ecuadorian shrimp processors, shrimp exports can go up as much as 20 percent in this period, Jose Antonio Camposano, president of the Camara Nacional de Acuacultura (CNA), told IntraFish.

"It depends on the inventories the companies have, some of them have been stocking up shrimp and some others need last-minute orders, but it's definitely a period of shrimp consumption, so it's crucial," Camposano said.

China has positioned itself as one of the main markets for Ecuadorian shrimp, and it continues to pose great opportunities for growth.

"Europe is very important for us, but the potential for growth is much bigger in Asia, and particularly in China," Camposano said.

The well-known surge of the Chinese medium class has certainly opened a new perspective for seafood processors, and Ecuadorian product is enjoying good perception among Chinese consumers who increasingly demand good quality seafood.

--Lola Navarro

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Wednesday, Nov. 1, 10.05 a.m. CST

China eats 90% of the Norwegian mackerel it imports

A new research commissioned by the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) into the potential of 13 fish species in China showed that the Chinese consumer is eating way more mackerel than it was originally thought.

Despite a belief that the majority of Norwegian mackerel imported by China was processed and exported to Japan, the new study showed that 90 percent of these imports are consumed in the country, said Sigmund Bjorgo, envoy of the NSC in China.

“The thought was that between 2,000 and 3,000 metric tons of Norwegian mackerel were consumed in China, but according to this study, the figure is around 15,000 metric tons,” Bjorgo said.

Norway holds two thirds of the mackerel market share in China, the study revealed.

--Lola Navarro

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Wednesday, Nov. 1, 10.00 a.m. CST

NRS 'doing what we can' to increase salmon production

Salmon production will continue to increase in 2017 and 2018, although growth rates will slow down next year, said Klaus Hatlebrekke, COO of market and business development for Norway Royal Salmon (NRS).

“We will do whatever we can to grow,” said Hatlebrekke. “We are not only interested in coastal regions in Norway, we’re into offshore farming and have also applied for salmon licenses in Iceland,” he said.

However, the industry “continues to struggle to produce more.”

In the short term, production is expected to grow no more than 3 to 4 percent, while demand continues to increase.

In the third quarter of the year, however, companies have managed to build up some salmon inventories, as consumption rose around 6 percent in total, and volumes increased 8 percent, he said.

--Lola Navarro

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Tuesday, Oct. 31, 12.00 p.m. CST

NSC appoints new envoy to China

The Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) is appointing Victoria Braathen as its new China envoy, starting in summer 2018. She takes over the role from Sigmund Bjørgo, who has been in China since 2011.

She's currently NSC's market access advisor.

--Kim Tran

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Tuesday, Oct. 31, 11.30 a.m. CST

Cracking the Chinese market?

For many Norwegian firms testing the waters in China, market access is still a big hurdle.

Some say it's a long process to get products approved while others are trying to establish brand recognition, such as Norwegian firm Hermes.

Most are looking for strong contacts to build relationships with as the Chinese importers know consumer demands and market trends well. Norwegian firms are also seeking contacts who are strong enough to be able to consistently move large volumes and have access to retailers.

"Nothing is easy, especially at the beginning," said Norwegian White General Manager Xuechun Zhang. "But the market has a lot of potential. It's just a matter of figuring out the right business model in China."

--Kim Tran

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Tuesday, Oct. 31, 11.00 a.m. CST

The relationship is complicated

Disease issues with ISA and PD in the past got three Norwegian regions blacklisted, regions that included companies who did not have these problems.

"We have no ISA at our plants, but it's located in a region that's been suspended for ISA since 2015," said Nordlaks Commercial Director Merete Kristiansen. "But we're anticipating the Chinese government will visit in the spring of 2018 to inspect these three regions."

"We're very positive if they come and see things are handled in a way that is appropriate for them," it will improve Chinese-Norwegian relations, she told IntraFish.

For Norwell, it's a slightly different situation. The company sells some volume to China.

"We have one packing station approved in China, but most fish packed there have a disease that is not allowed in China," said Norwell Sales Manager Tor Hjalte. "But we're getting ready for when the market opens up more."

--Kim Tran

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Tuesday, Oct. 31, 10.30 a.m. CST

Hitting the ground running

Norwegian firm IceFresh Trading Co. opened its Shanghai office just six months ago, but has since seen a jump in e-commerce sales.

"We're No. 3 now on Tmall," said Vincent Yu, CEO of IceFresh Shanghai, adding that they also sell on the other e-commerce platforms, such as JD.com, Alibaba and Gfresh.

The company imports Icelandic cod, Faroe Islands salmon, Norwegian prawns and cold smoked salmon.

--Kim Tran

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Tuesday, Oct. 31, 11.45 a.m. CST

Investing in China beyond Norwegian salmon, cod

Norway is looking to capture more of the Chinese market as the country's per capita consumption has grown 3 percent annually. Last year its seafood per capita consumption was 41 kg, said Paul Tsai of Promar Consulting.

The Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) asked Promar Consulting to research the Chinese seafood sector over the summer. NSC Director of Mainland China and Hong Kong Sigmund Bjørgo said that although "no one can beat us on market insight" for salmon and cod, there are several other species the Norwegian sector that needs further research.

The report -- The NSC Market Analysis for Norwegian Seafood Products in the China Market -- broke down 13 species and its potential in the Chinese market for Norwegian companies. The species included saithe, Greenland halibut, Atlantic mackerel, herring, crab and more.

China's seafood imports are still mainly re-exported. Last year, only 4 percent of imported seafood was consumed in the country, a total volume supply 68 million metric tons.

China exports more seafood than it imports with more than 2.5 million metric tons of seafood imported since 2012 and 4 million metric tons of seafood exported since 2012. Pollock accounts for 31 percent of 2016 imported seafood, salmon (Pacific and Atlantic) 10 percent and cod 10 percent.

Norway has been the No. 3 seafood supplier for China in the last five years, behind Russia and the United States, which rank first and second, respectively.

However, the report faced some challenges due to restrict data on smuggled seafood.

"There are many gray channels, and different gray channels," said Bjørgo. "With this report, we can look into these other species and decide, are we ready to start investing on some of these species in to China?"

The report was commissioned in June and completed last week. Its results were presented for the first time on at Tuesday's Norwegian-China Summit, which connected Norwegian exporters to Chinese buyers.

The NSC plans to decide in the following months on which species it should focus on.

--Kim Tran

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Tuesday, Oct. 31, 10.30 a.m. CST

IntraFish ready to take on China expo

The IntraFish team has all arrived and are ready for the the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo in Qingdao.

Organizers said they're planning on record attendance the 16th year in a row.

The event will cover more than 36,000 square meters, attract more than 1,400 companies from 40 countries and have more than 25,000 visitors from 100 countries.

“Once again this year, most of the growth in the show is due to an increase in the amount of exhibit space in the overseas halls,” said Peter Redmayne, president of Seattle-based Sea Fare Expositions, Inc., the co-founder and overseas organizer of the show.

Stop by IntraFish's booth at E1-0918 to share some news or meet some of our staffers.

We'll be on the ground, so keep checking back here to get all the news from this year's events.

Click here to catch up on our coverage from the 2016 show.

--Kim Tran

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