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China: major trading nation in fish and seafood

Fish and seafood has, for centuries, been an important, integral part of the Chinese diet, and Chinese cuisine. The fact that China has such a long coastline, plus a large number of large rivers and lakes, has meant that the country is blessed with large and varied stocks of many aquatic species, most of which appear in the menu of at least one of China’s many regional cooking traditions.

With growing industrialisation and economic development, not only are Chinese consumers better able to afford to eat more fish and seafood, but the industry that provides it has also extended its capacity to supply the market.

As the Chinese fishing fleet has grown, and spread its influence, China has become a major trading nation in fish and seafood. Likewise, China’s ability to undercut the cost of production in most industries has spread to the fish and seafood processing industry, and much of what is caught by the rest of the world’s fleets is now destined to be processed in China, either for local consumption, but a large amount goes to re-export.

Thus it is that China has become one of the most important markets in the world for fresh and processed fish and seafood, despite per capita consumption of such products still being below the levels in many developed countries. However, whereas consumption levels in other countries seem to be declining, in China they are continuing to grow.

by S. C.
18 january 2011, World News > Asia

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