Mitsubishi-owned global salmon farming giant Cermaq has signed an agreement with three Chinese companies for the distribution of its True Arctic salmon brand in China.

The three companies, Zhejiang Ocean Family, Shanghai Fiord and Beijing Haiyingge, have been "carefully selected" according to Cermaq Head of Global Sales and Marketing Arild Aakre.

"We have signed the contract as part of our long term strategy and focus on China," he said in a statement sent to IntraFish.

"With this contract we aim together with our partners to build a preference for True Arctic salmon."

Consumers and importers in China are still shying away from salmon following a coronavirus scare in June, a trend reflected in Norway's weak exports to the region.

Many Chinese buyers halted imports of salmon, and the fish was removed from supermarket shelves after traces of the coronavirus were found on a chopping board used to cut salmon at a large food market in Beijing.

For Chilean salmon, the impact has been even more devastating with exporters working hard to try and regain confidence from Chinese buyers, despite no evidence of any link whatsoever between imported salmon and China's most recent Beijing COVID-19 outbreak.

But Cermaq is betting on a branded product with a strong provenance story to make the difference.

"We think the timing is perfect as the consumers are increasingly having an interest in where the fish is coming from and the story behind it," said Aakre.

"We and our partners believe that our True Arctic salmon slow raised north of the Arctic circle is a relevant product for the demanding consumer."

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