Nor­way seafood push in Mid­dle East

Fish Farmer - - European News -

THE Nor­we­gian Seafood Coun­cil is or­gan­is­ing two mis­sions to the Mid­dle East this au­tumn but, sig­nif­i­cantly, Iran is not on the itin­er­ary.

The Tromso based na­tional mar­ket­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion is plan­ning a ma­jor pres­ence at the Seafex fair in Dubai, and Saudi Horeca in Sau­dia Ara­bia, with an open in­vi­ta­tion to all Nor­we­gian seafood ex­porters.

Both Seafex and Saudi Horeca are the largest ex­hi­bi­tions of their kind in the re­gion, at­tract­ing tens of thou­sands of vis­i­tors from the food and ho­tel in­dus­try.

In­gelill Ja­cob­sen, project man­ager for new mar­kets at the Seafood Coun­cil, said: ‘The Mid­dle East re­gion is an im­por­tant part of the fo­cus on new mar­kets for Nor­we­gian seafood.

‘Nor­we­gian pres­ence is nec­es­sary to en­sure that a larger pro­por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion puts seafood from Nor­way on the menu.’

The coun­cil says that, ac­cord­ing to large store chains such as Car­refour and Lulu, there are still more peo­ple who want seafood from Nor­way.

In par­tic­u­lar, the cus­tomers ask for Nor­we­gian salmon, but there are also po­ten­tials for shrimp, shell­fish, cod and mack­erel. In the United Arab Emi­rates, for ex­am­ple, peo­ple eat an av­er­age of 23 ki­los of seafood a year, with most of it im­ported. The main species is ham­mour, a type of grouper, but it is heav­ily over­fished. Ja­cob­sen said this opened up op­por­tu­ni­ties for more sus­tain­able, north­ern hemi­sphere cod.

Seafood con­sump­tion in Saudi Ara­bia (pop­u­la­tion 32 mil­lion) is much lower than the UAE, av­er­ag­ing just 13 ki­los a year, but there is a grow­ing de­mand for farmed salmon, trout and mack­erel in par­tic­u­lar.

The Saudi au­thor­i­ties, wor­ried that the pop­u­la­tion is be­com­ing over­weight, are also en­cour­ag­ing their peo­ple to adopt a health­ier diet. The re­gion has also in­vested mil­lions in re­cent years in de­vel­op­ing its own aqua­cul­ture op­er­a­tions.

Seafex will be held in Dubai from Oc­to­ber 30 to Novem­ber 1, while Saudi Horeca takes place in Riyadh be­tween Novem­ber 27 and 29.

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