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Kiwi crustaceans tempting tastebuds of China’s growing middle class

Jun 3rd, 2013 | By | Category: Latest News, News

CHINESE tastes for kiwi crustaceans has fuelled a doubling of seafood exports there in the past five years.

The seafood industry has experienced a 202% rise in export value to China over the past five years, creating flow-on effects for industry and training.

The increase has taken China from number five to number one as New Zealand seafood’s export destination, rising from $117 million in 2007 to $353 million in 2012.

Australia and the United States are second and third in the top five export destinations behind China.

In a five-year review of the industry’s figures released this month, Statistics New Zealand says the rise in the export value to China was mostly driven by the high demand for rock lobster and other crustaceans.

Don Carson, senior communications advisor at Seafood New Zealand says consumption is driven by China’s rising middle class.

“Rock lobster is included in these high profits from China,” he says.

The value of rock lobster exports to all countries jumped 84% from $121 million to $223 million over the five years.

Mr Carson says China is growing and the population can afford imported products.

“The Chinese economy is developing and they can afford to eat imported foods and products,” he says.

China has jumped up to the number one spot in export values from number five since 2007, overtaking Australia, the United States, Japan and Hong Kong.

Australia was number one in 2007 with $240 million and continued to increase in value to $285 million in 2012, a 19% rise.

Seafood exports to the United States are down to $153 million from $157 million (-3%), Japan rose from $121 million to $142 million (+17%) and Hong Kong is now number five, falling from to $118 million from $173 million (-32%).

Statistics New Zealand says Hong Kong’s 32% fall in export value is related to China’s 202% increase.

Sharon Larsen, Seafood Training Coordinator at Seafood Industry Training Organisation (SITO) says the evolving industry has meant changes in training and industry.

“We have seen growth areas in trainees moving on to higher level qualifications, they don’t just stop at basic levels of qualifications,” she says.

Ms Larsen also says the development means changes in skills, processes and final products.

“When the industry evolves, things to learn evolves,” she says.

Mr Carson says the seafood industry is servicing the increasing demand by doing the usual things.

“There is participation in regular global food fairs,” he says.

When asked about growth for the next five years, Mr Carson says it is difficult to predict.

“It’s hard to say if the global situation will affect China’s growth,” he says.

However he says further rise is likely.

“It’s safe to say that it will probably increase over the next few years. China knows and respects our seafood,” he says.


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is a Whitireia Journalism student.
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