Tag Archives: China

Something Is Starting to Smell Fishy About the Global Seafood Supply Chain

The past half year has seen a steady stream of disturbing reports about serious human rights abuses tied to industrial fishing. The story about conditions at the shrimp plant in India come against a broader backdrop. The same week that the whistleblower documents were published, the Corporate Accountability Lab, which is an advocacy group of lawyers and researchers, released a report detailing severe cases of captive and forced labor as well as environmental concerns often tied to wastewater at a variety of other shrimp plants in India. It’s worth remembering the history here. Labor abuse tied to seafood is not a new problem. And yet, here we are again: the seafood problems previously highlighted in Thailand are now being widely revealed in China and India.   more, >>click to read<< 08:05

US military will buy seafood from Japan to offset Chinese ban

The U.S. has reportedly begun buying Japanese seafood for its military stationed there to offset the impact of China’s ban on seafood, according to a new report from Reuters.  U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said there will be a long-term contract between the U.S. armed forces and the fisheries and co-ops in Japan. The seafood will be given to soldiers in messes and vessels and sold in shops and restaurants on military bases, Emanuel reportedly said, adding that the types of seafood will expand over time. The U.S. military had not purchased local seafood in Japan prior to the deal, according to Emanuel. >>click to read<< 08:55

Spiny lobsters staying home with local buyers and restaurants

“Prior to 2008, 99% of the lobsters caught in Southern California were sent to Los Angeles before being shipped to China,” said Mitch Conniff, owner of Mitch’s Seafood in Point Loma, who has been involved in San Diego fishing for decades with stints working as a deckhand on commercial lobster boats. “For a lot of years there was a van that drove down from LA every day and bought our lobsters and shipped them to China,” concurred Point Loma lobster fisherman Cameron Cribben (above), an angler since age 14, about recent changes in marketing his lobster take. “Ten years ago, every lobster I caught went to China. Now after COVID, and since some of my business partners opened up TunaVille Market, a lot of my lobsters are being sold locally to the community.” >>click to read<< 11:18

“Squid Fleet” Takes You Into the Opaque World of Chinese Fishing

In February, 2022, I invited the documentary filmmaker Ed Ou to join me at sea, boarding Chinese squid ships. For the past four years, I have been visiting these ships as part of an investigation into the use of forced labor by the global seafood industry. China has the world’s largest distant water fishing fleet, catching billions of pounds of seafood annually, the biggest portion of it squid. The fleet is rife with labor trafficking, abusive working conditions, and violence. But China publicly releases little information about its vessels, and most stay at sea for more than a year, making them difficult to track or inspect. To see the fleet up close, Ou and I travelled to fishing grounds near the Falkland Islands and the Galápagos. We chased boats, interviewed crews by radio, and, when permitted, boarded ships. My goal was to talk to crew members and chronicle their working conditions. “Squid Fleet,” the film that Ou produced, offers something deeper. Ou and his co-director, Will N. Miller, made a hybrid documentary, combining fictionalized narration with real footage from the trip to capture a strange world that few outsiders get to see. 13:45 Video trailer, >>click to read<< 21:36

Lobster season underway, but South Australian fishers still missing out on Chinese trade

Lobster fishers in South Australia’s southern zone are heading out today to set their pots for the start of the season. After a two-year trial, the season’s September 1 start date has become permanent in the hope it will help get lobsters onto the plates of those celebrating the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. Robe lobster fisher Paul Regnier supports the change. “It has been a real bonus for us,” he said. But China is still not allowing Mr Regnier’s catch into the country — officially, at least. China’s 2020 ban on Australian lobsters sent prices crashing and exporters were forced to find new markets for the crustaceans. >>click to read<< 10:34

Fukushima residents cautious after wrecked nuclear plant begins releasing treated wastewater

Fish auction prices at a port south of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were mixed amid uncertainty over how seafood consumers will respond to the release of treated and diluted radioactive wastewater into the ocean. The plant, which was damaged in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, began sending the treated water into the Pacific on Thursday despite protests at home and in nearby countries that are adding political and diplomatic pressures to the economic worries. The decades long release has been strongly opposed by fishing groups and criticized by neighboring countries. Japanese fishing groups fear the release will do more harm to the reputation of seafood from the Fukushima area. Photos, >click to read< 16:25

Tons of fish caught in Russia is sold in America, despite import ban

President Joe Biden signed an import ban on Russian seafood last year, but fish valued at several hundred millions of dollars are able to evade the ban by diverting to another another country before arriving on American shores. “There has been a huge loophole where the Russians have been now sending their fish – it’s pollock, it’s salmon,  a little bit less crab – to other countries for reprocessing, primarily China,” U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan told reporters Thursday. The ban was intended to ensure Americans aren’t indirectly financing Russia’s war on Ukraine through their purchases. >click to read< 11:07

Nova Scotia MP questions Chinese ‘control’ over lobster industry – Exporter calls claims ‘kind of racist’

“My concern overall is the growing influence of China and the control of our lobster industry itself and that’s throughout the supply chain,” said Rick Perkins, the Conservative MP for South Shore -St. Margarets, where lobster fishing is a cornerstone of the economy. Perkins raised the issue recently at a parliamentary committee looking into foreign ownership and corporate concentration of commercial fishing in Canada. “What about China? I know, for example, on the South Shore, I’m seeing China buy our buyers. What’s the impact of that? I also understand they control the freight forwarder at the Halifax airport,” Perkins asked Colin Sproul, an inshore fishermen’s representative appearing before the committee. >click to read< 07:36

Cassidy Urges International Trade Commission to Keep Antidumping Orders on Shrimp from China, India, Thailand, Vietnam

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy M.D. (R-LA) expressed his support for continuing antidumping orders on imports of frozen warmwater shrimp imported from China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam in a letter to U.S. International Trade Commission Chairman David Johanson. Cassidy highlighted the importance of these antidumping orders to ensure Louisiana’s shrimp industry can compete on a level playing field. “Dumped imports from China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam surged into the U.S. market, driving down prices, depressing earnings, and making it increasingly difficult to cover the costs of production. Faced with declining revenues and market share, many small fishermen, processors, and distributors were forced to close. The orders have imposed needed discipline on imports and allowed our vital Louisiana shrimp industry to survive,” wrote Dr. Cassidy. >click to read< 14:40

Atlantic ChiCan investment in Nova Scotia lobster business tops $45M

Clark’s Harbour Seafood is set to open a new $15-million lobster processing facility this month as the China-focused exporter brings its investment on Cape Sable Island in southwest Nova Scotia to more than $45 million. The new plant, located in Clark’s Harbour, will be capable of processing up to four million pounds of cooked lobster a year allowing the company to make money from lobster not hardy enough for lengthy live shipments, says chief operating officer John Crandle Nickerson.  The He family, which operates seafood processing companies in China, owns the business. Owner Jim He is a Canadian citizen who splits his time between Vancouver and Nova Scotia. >click to read< 13:54

Signs China will discuss lifting trade ban, but Australian lobster fishers say diversification crucial

Trade Minister Don Farrell is yet to meet his Chinese counterpart but says ambassador Xiao Qian has indicated his government is “prepared to have these discussions”. “My job now is to convince China to change its view,” Mr Farrell said. Gordon Lewis owns two fishing boats in Port Macdonnell, South Australia, one of the country’s largest rock lobster fisheries. He said after fishing for the first few days of the season, he pulled his boats out for more than two weeks because volatile prices had made it unaffordable. “Everyone is struggling,” he said. With China no longer taking the majority of the catch, oversupply in the domestic market led to a price drop. >click to read< 09:47

Rock lobster back on the menu

New Zealand’s rock lobster industry is catching up on a slow year thanks to the end of a Chinese lockdown and the conclusion of an unlucky spiritual festival. Shanghai is one of New Zealand’s biggest lobster importers, but the city was locked down from March to June. Fiordland Lobsters sales and marketing general manager Andrew Harvey said it had taken time for the industry to get back up to speed. That was combined with Ghost Month, a time dedicated to the spirits of the dead which spanned from late July to August. Australia banned exports of lobster to China in 2020, which had also increased the New Zealand share of the market and helped it through some of the slow patches. >click to read< 08:47

We’re eating less lobster, just as fall fishing season begins

After reaching record high prices in the spring, the shore price for a pound of Atlantic lobster has dropped dramatically, from around $18 to $5. Low demand, both domestically and internationally, and inflation are contributing to this drop, say industry professionals, who are concerned about the rising costs to fish and distribute the product as the fall lobster fishing season commences. Stewart Lamont, managing director of Tangier Lobster Company, a live lobster exporter in Nova Scotia, said consumer purchasing habits have changed since the beginning of the pandemic. >click to read< 07:47

Canadian Lobster industry sense more regulations coming for Chinese exports

In January, the Chinese Government introduced new import regulations known as Decrees 248 and 249, which require international distributors to register with the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC), and for products to include Chinese-language labeling. Since their implementation, there have been many issues, with lobster distributors claiming they have erroneously been told they aren’t registered with GACC, causing delays in shipping and in sometimes voiding the Chinese importer’s obligation to pay. Currently, the regulations only apply to frozen or cooked products. >click to read< Tracing measures issued in January required Chinese-language labelling on processed seafood >click to read<14:56

Despite war ban, Russian seafood could enter the US anyway

Fishing is big business in Russia, one closely linked to the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin’s projection of power at sea. The country is one of the world’s top seafood producers and was the eighth-largest exporter to the United States last year, with more than $1.2bn worth of sales, the bulk of it king crab. But it is unknown exactly how much manages to land in the US by way of China, which sent another $1.7bn in fish to the US last year. Nor does the Biden administration’s ban require companies importing from China to find out. But the same species is also harvested in Russia in similar amounts, and once processed and imported from China, fills an important gap in the US market. In lieu of tracing the country of origin, US producers rely on the name recognition of Alaska pollock to signal where the fish was caught. >click to read< 17:31

The value of Canadian lobster exports has skyrocketed driving the wharf price toward a record high

Two weeks ago, at wharfs in Nova Scotia, the price of lobster was the highest it has ever been. Stewart Lamont, managing director of Tangier Lobster Company, a live lobster exporter in Nova Scotia, said the shore price for lobster, the amount fishermen get from buyers, was $18 a pound. That’s more than double the regular pre-pandemic price. It has since gone down due to a drop in exports and higher supply. Lamont said this week lobster was around $12 to $12.50 a pound. While high prices mean more money for lobster exporters and fishermen, Lamont said he is scared that if lobster becomes too expensive, people and businesses will simply stop buying it. >click to read< 10:52

Trade war, Covid and now Ukraine invasion eat into Alaska seafood sales

First a trade war, then a battle against an infectious virus and now a real war are all affecting Alaska seafood exports. Shipments to China fell from as high as 30% of Alaska’s total seafood export value in the 2010s to 20% in 2020. “The U.S.-China trade war has displaced $500 million of Alaska seafood,” And though people bought more seafood to prepare at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, sales to restaurants and food services fell by 70%, Woodrow said. The food service market “still hasn’t fully recovered.” The Alaska product at risk in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is pink salmon roe. Eastern Europe is a major buyer of the product, he said. “It’s a regional preference.” Alaska in 2021 shipped to Ukraine about $20 million of pink salmon roe,,, >click to read< 11:37

Canadian lobster exports have biggest year ever, topping $3.2B last year

The value of Canadian lobster exports topped $3.2 billion last year, the highest ever and more than $700 million higher than pre-pandemic levels, according to new trade data. Soaring sales of Canadian frozen and processed lobster in the United States during 2021 accounted for most of the increase. “We had a very strong bounce back from the pandemic as people ate premium protein that they bought in grocery stores. They wanted healthy food, they wanted safe food and they wanted a treat. So they buy lobster,” said Geoff Irvine, executive director of the Lobster Council of Canada, an industry trade group. >click to read< 07:57

U.S. lobster set to feed another Chinese New Year as demand booms

The week-long holiday, commonly known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is typically one of the busiest times for the U.S. lobster business. Appetite for the crustaceans remains strong in China this year, despite pandemic-related challenges to transportation and logistics, according to U.S. lobster industry members. “I have orders every day. Whether I can get them all on the airplanes every day becomes a question,” Bill Bruns, operations manager at The Lobster Co. >click to read< 08:16

Chinese buyers snap up Maine’s lobster haul

Undeterred by biting winds as the temperature hovers around freezing, Maine’s lobstermen haul their traps out of their pickup trucks and onto their boats. It is shortly after dawn in the coastal town of Ogunquit, the start of another working day that will last about 12 hours. The tourists have gone and the “summer folk” have fled to the warmer climes of Florida. In Ogunquit’s Perkins Cove, a red icebreaker has been readied for the winter months, when it will make sure the lobstermen can reach lucrative fishing grounds in the Atlantic. >click to read< 07:14

A Preposterous Claim: Chinese media says Maine lobster shipment was ‘Pandora’s box’ behind pandemic

A recent article in the Sina news portal, one of the most read on China’s state-controlled internet, reported that in mid-November 2019, a batch of seafood from Maine was shipped to the “Wuhan South China Seafood Market,” also known as the Huanan Seafood Market, where the virus was first reported in late 2019. According to the translated Sina article, within a few weeks, employees in the market began experiencing “symptoms of pneumonia of unknown origin one after another.” Sina named “the Seashell Company” in York County as the original source of the lobster. >click to read<  There was talk about that in 2019 during the trade war,,, US-China Trade Deal: US lobster dealers anxious to resume business with China –Hugh Reynolds, a lobster dealer from Stonington, Maine, was excited to learn that the China-US phase-one economic and trade deal came into effect on Feb 14., >click to read<  >Search results for China, Lobster< 13:41

Pandemic, labor , product shortages, and supply chain issues disrupt Dungeness Crab market

Seafood distributors, sellers and processors point to a number of factors that converged to create a perfect storm: the coronavirus pandemic, labor shortages, product shortages, supply chain issues and market demands. All have contributed to drive prices up from the usual $25 or so per pound to as much as $52. This season was difficult for many in the industry. It opened late and yielded a mere 12 million pounds to date, compared to last year’s 20 million. On average, commercial crabbers land around 16 million pounds in Oregon, though the fishery can be cyclical, with boom and bust periods. >click to read< 19:13

Banned Australian lobsters are sneaking into China via Hong Kong

Since direct shipments to China virtually ground to a halt last November, Hong Kong has become the world’s largest importer of Australian lobsters, with monthly trade growing more than 2000 per cent from October to April. While lower prices will have spurred some increased demand from Hong Kong consumers, experts say the dramatic spike is more likely due to a grey trade as the tasty crustaceans are sent across the border to the mainland. >click to read< 09:22

Australian lobsters back on the Chinese menu as ‘grey trade’ fires up again

Australian lobster fishermen shut out of mainland China appear to be selling millions of dollars’ worth of crayfish to the once-booming market via unofficial “grey channels”, trade experts say. Commercial fishers across the country were left reeling in November when China appeared to impose an unofficial ban on Australian lobster exports that had been worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The suspension effectively stopped the trade with China, which had been buying more than 90 per cent of lobsters exported from Australia. >click to read< 11:48

A “heavy mental impact” – Tasmania’s rock lobster industry suffers in trade war

Beijing cancelled the China Australia strategic economic dialogue this week, effectively ending trade relations between the two countries. For Tasmania’s rock lobster fishers this trade war is real and destroying their livelihoods and businesses in less than 12 months. Lobster fisher Kane Ebel said there was a “heavy mental impact” to the trade war. “When you get out of bed in the morning and you’ve got big debts on your boat and your house and effectively can’t go to work, it’s got to take a toll,” he told Sky News. >click to watch< 18:48

Australia: From feeding a President to a food van – This is the reality of China’s trade war

From the barley fields of Western Australia, to the lobster trawlers of Hobart,,, In a shock move, Chinese authorities claimed a sample of a rock lobster contained excessive levels of the heavy metal cadmium. Trade was effectively shut down,,, Australian government agencies has found no evidence of contamination in southern rock lobster. Without China, prices have collapsed. There are about 150 boats in the Tasmanian lobster fleet, Mr Blake fears a third will have to exit the industry,,, only last night, I had a fisherman on the phone crying to me, wondering how he’s going to pay his bills, and this is only the start.” Lobster is just one of a raft of industries hit by China’s trade sanctions, including beef, wine and barley. lots of photos, >click to read< 19:31

U.S. lobster exports to China rebounded in 2020

While the coronavirus pandemic tanked U.S. lobster exports overall in 2020, international trade data suggests the industry’s once-thriving U.S. to China trade pipeline may be making a comeback.  International sales of U.S. lobster fell by 22 percent last year, from $548.4 million in 2019 to $426.9 million in 2020. The market saw declines in sales to each of the country’s top 10 international buyers, with the notable exception of China, which bought more than $127 million of U.S. lobster, or a roughly 49 percent increase over 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. >click to read< 10:34

Coronavirus: Why the Lunar New Year matters for Maine lobster shippers

The Lunar New Year is typically one of the busiest parts of the calendar for America’s lobster shippers, who send millions of dollars worth of the crustaceans to China every year. This year the holiday is Friday, and industry members said the Year of the Ox won’t necessarily be the Year of the Lobster. That’s because shipping has been complicated this winter by the threat of the virus. Mike Marceau, vice president of The Lobster Company in Arundel, Maine, said he isn’t expecting much in the way of exports. >click to read< 08:44

China’s lobster ban helped lift Australian Christmas seafood purchases by 30 per cent

It was a difficult 2020 for Australian fishermen with COVID-19 affecting both food service and export markets. “We needed a bumper Christmas period to help us claw our way back,” Veronica Papacosta, CEO of Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) said. It seems that SIA’s campaign calling on consumers to support the struggling sector, by switching one meal on the Christmas table to seafood, worked. “We’re hearing from retailers and producers right across the country that they’re up, on average, 30 per cent from last year’s December sales,” >click to read< 07:49

New Zealand crayfish in hot demand in China, selling for $100, as China-Australia relations sour

Though this time of year is usually quiet a shift in global politics has made for a busier November and December than expected. A diplomatic stoush saw China refuse various Australian exports, including live crayfish, also known as kōura or rock lobster. Suddenly Chinese buyers are paying a lot more to get hold of New Zealand crays. The extra cash has been a welcome boost, after the industry’s $38m loss during lockdown. >click to read< 16:43