Canada is one of the world’s most important fishery nations and China is Canada’s second largest export market for seafood products. According to official data from Statistics Canada, Canada exported nearly one billion CAD worth of seafood to China in 2020.
China has also been an important partner for Canada in its global seafood processing supply chain for over two decades. Every year, a large quantity of Canadian fish and crabs are finely processed in China’s coastal provinces where they are turned into high-end products such as fish fillets and crab meat. These products are very popular in the catering and retail sectors of European, American and Asian markets.
To accommodate the increasing demand of Canadian seafood in China, Atlantic Canada Business Network has teamed up with Canadian federal and provincial governments as well as various fisheries associations to hold the 2021 Canada Seafood Conference at the CFSE in Qingdao in October 2021.
The conference will feature guest speakers from the Canadian Embassy in China, Government of British Columbia, and the Government of Quebec as well as presentations about industry trends from representatives from the maritime provincial governments of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador, all of which are key fishing grounds on the Canadian Atlantic Coast.
The Lobster Council of Canada, Association of Seafood Producers, and anchor companies carrying major Canadian seafood species such as coldwater shrimp, clam and crab, will also be on hand to share new fishing season prospects, product supply and upgrades, and global market growth points under the COVID-19 epidemic impact.
The Conference will be a great event and will present Canadian seafood to key Chinese channel partners such as importers, distributers and retailers.
Scan and Register for the 2021 Canada Seafood Conference!
Major Canadian Seafood Species:
Canadian Lobster (Live):
Also known by its Latin name, Homarus Americanus. Canadian Lobster are caught in the wild cold and pristine Atlantic Ocean where there are 41 lobster fishing areas, including Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic side of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Canada strictly implements sustainable fishing management, and MSC certification.
With delicious meat and mighty body, Canadian lobsters have become the number one choice for banquets in Chinese market for the past five years, and gained reputation as the king of seafood. In 2020, when global trade has been greatly disrupted, Canada exported 20,569 tons of live lobsters to China, worth 370 million Canadian dollars in value, accounting for 61% of China’s total live lobster importation.
Canadian Lobster (Frozen):
Nearly half of the Canadian lobsters caught in the wild are processed into raw frozen, cooked frozen, and blanched lobster products through cooking and quick-frozen process in live and fresh conditions.
The quick-frozen lobster meat tastes delicious and effectively maintains the original sweetness and tenderness of lobster meat. Canadian frozen lobsters have been sought after by retail sector this year. In the first six months alone, export value of whole frozen lobster in Canada has increased from 280 million Canadian dollars to 543 million; and export value of frozen lobster meat has also increased rapidly from 105 million Canadian dollars in the first six months of last year to 252 million, showing a 140% year-on-year growth over 6 months period.
Canadian coldwater shrimp are caught in pristine North Atlantic Ocean. On board frozen technology including quick-frozen packaging keeps the natural sweetness and firmness of shrimp throughout the cold-chain management process. Nowadays, the best-selling coldwater shrimp are shell-on cooked frozen shrimp, sashimi grade, and cooked and peeled coldwater shrimp that go easily with other ingredients. Ready to eat directly after thawing, Canadian coldwater shrimp are a hot-selling product on e-commerce platforms and supermarket shelves. In 2020, Canada exported more than 50,000 tons of coldwater shrimp to China.
Arctic Surf Clam:
Arctic surf clam is an important seafood in Japanese cuisine and has gained quite a bit of awareness and a strong consumer base in the Chinese market. Canadian Arctic surf clams are caught 200-300 kilometers offshore in the pristine North Atlantic Ocean. The temperature of seawater in this region fluctuates between 0-5 degrees all year round, making it the perfect growing environment for high-quality Arctic surf clam. Within 45 minutes after being caught, the clams go through a standardized cooking and freezing process.
In China, Capelin is called “Duochun,” meaning rich roe in female fish belly. Capelin has highly nutritious fish roe, rich in delicious and tender fish meat trace elements and soft fishbone. Capelin is perfect for barbecue and frying, and a must-have summer BBQ dish in China. In the past two years, the global TAC of capelin continued to decline, making Canada an even more important source of capelin.
The Dungeness crab is a member of the hardshell crab family and can be identified by its light reddish-brown shell, which sometimes has a purple splotch towards the front. The underside is white to light orange. It is one of British Columbia’s most traditional harvests and the most important species of crab harvested on Canada’s Pacific Coast. Dungeness crab is recognized by consumers for its sweet, mild and slightly nutty taste with tender body meat and slightly firmer leg meat. It is especially in demand because it lends itself to a wide variety of preparation methods from simple to elegant. The average annual harvest volume for British Columbia Dungeness crab is around 3,600 tonnes. British Columbia exports of crab increased by 30% from CAD $159.1 million in 2018 to CAD $206.5 million in 2019. Approximately 77% of British Columbia crab exports were to China in 2019.
The Geoduck clam is renowned for its large meaty siphon or neck extending from its oval-shaped shell. They are individually hand-harvested by divers to maintain product quality and freshness. As one of British Columbia’s most valuable shellfish delicacies, geoduck offers a sweet, fresh sea flavour enjoyed by seafood enthusiasts in its raw form or quickly sautéed and stir-fried. The average annual harvest volume for British Columbia geoduck is around 1,500 tonnes. British Columbia exports of geoduck increased by 12% from CAD $54.8 million in 2018 to CAD $61.6 million 2019. Approximately 58% of British Columbia geoduck exports were to China in 2019.
Spot prawns are the largest of the commercial species of shrimp harvested from British Columbia’s pristine waters. The prawn’s body colour is usually reddish brown or tan, and distinctive white spots on its abdominal segments distinguish it from other shrimp species. Spot prawns are valued for their sweet, delicate flavour and firm texture. Side stripe shrimp are the second-largest shrimp species commercially harvested in British Columbia. Similar in color to prawns, side stripe shrimp are distinguished from other shrimp species by their long antennules and striped abdomen. Like prawns, side strip shrimp are also a top choice for their sweet flavour. The average annual harvest volume for British Columbia spot prawn is around 1,975 tonnes, while side stripe shrimp is approximately 600 tonnes. British Columbia exports of prawn and shrimp increased by nearly 10% from CAD $53.1 million in 2018 to CAD $57.7 million in 2019. About 44% of British Columbia prawn and shrimp exports were to China in 2019.
Sea urchin hand-harvested by divers is one of the world’s most valuable and sought-after seafoods. They are small and spherical with bright red or dark burgundy shells (Red), or green shells (Green) covered in long, spiny needles. The roe is bright yellow and tastes distinctively light and sweet with a firm, smooth texture – a truly unique flavour. The average annual harvest volume for British Columbia sea urchin is around 3,150 tonnes. British Columbia exports of sea urchin in 2019 were valued at CAD $19.5 million.
Sea Cucumber From BC:
The sea cucumber is an invertebrate (with no spine) that is red or dark brown in colour. In addition to the remarkable delicate flavour of its inner muscles, sea cucumber skin is also coveted as a natural ethnic health food offering many valuable medicinal properties. The average annual harvest volume for British Columbia sea cucumber is around 1,700 tonnes. British Columbia exports of sea cucumber in 2019 were valued at CAD $11.9 million with 52% heading to China.
About 2020 Canadian Seafood Conference
The 2020 Canadian Seafood Conference was held in Shanghai in November 2020. During the event, the trade dynamics of lobster, cold water shrimp, sea cucumber, and fish were shared and various discussions on the development opportunities and difficulties of Canadian lobster in the catering and retail supply chain were held with supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, distributors and importers.
The event also brought together the Canadian Consulate, cold water shrimp importers, and online e-commerce platforms to share the policies and measures for food safety upgrade management in the processing and circulation of Canadian seafood during the COVID-19 epidemic.
More than 120 Chinese seafood stakeholders participated onsite and the event was broadcasted live via professional seafood media “Seafood Guide” online platform, attracted more than 30,000 views.