Live fish ex­ports to be scaled up

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - FOOD PROCESSING -

The New Zealand seafood in­dus­try is look­ing to re­alise $100 mil­lion worth of live seafood ex­ports a year to Aus­tralia.

The chair of Seafood New Zealand, Eric Bar­ratt, says restaurants and re­tail­ers in Aus­tralia are likely to pay a pre­mium for many seafood species if they are de­liv­ered alive rather than frozen.

“Biose­cu­rity is im­por­tant for both coun­tries, and Aus­tralian sci­en­tists and of­fi­cials will want to as­sure them­selves that there is min­i­mal risk of a new species of fish, or any as­so­ci­ated or­gan­isms, from New Zealand, es­tab­lish­ing them­selves in Aus­tralia as a re­sult of ex­ports,” Bar­ratt says.

New Zealand al­ready ex­ports live seafood to many parts of the world, with rock lob­sters con­sign­ments to Hong Kong/China be­ing the largest sin­gle earner.

“For years we haven’t se­ri­ously worked on a tran­sTas­man live trade,” Bar­ratt says. “We did have green mus­sels go­ing there in the early days of mus­sel farm­ing and even some oys­ters up to the 1990s. But Aus­tralia took a pre­cau­tion­ary at­ti­tude and ex­ports stopped.”

Bar­ratt says the most likely ini­tial ex­ports are bi­valves, in par­tic­u­lar surf clams.

Rock Lob­ster ex­ports to China are by far the big­gest value live ex­port worth $237 mil­lion. The big­gest mar­kets by species are; paua to China, $277,000; mus­sels to the US, $201,000; eels to the Repub­lic of Korea, $1 mil­lion; scal­lops to Tahiti, $20,000; and Pa­cific oys­ters to New Cale­do­nia, $1 mil­lion.

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