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Chinese Lobster Buyers Visit P.E.I.

Economics +1 more

CANADA - A contingent of lobster buyers from China has been touring Prince Edward Island (P.E.I) for the past few days trying to learn everything it can about the lobster industry.

The Island already exports about $500,000 worth of lobster to China, but processors are hoping to boost their sales, reports CBCNews.

The buyers have visited several lobster plants, met with fishermen and eaten lobster prepared especially for them by local chefs.

Jinhai Ge, who sells lobster to high-end hotels and restaurants and supermarkets in Shanghai, is impressed by what he's seen so far.

"[He says] people here are very kind, and also, he's very confident about the seafood industry," a translator said. "He thinks the P.E.I. seafood industry and processors have very good … quality assurance."

Dave McGuire, seafood marketing officer with the Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development, met Ge while in China last year. It's important to have the importers come to P.E.I. during fishing season, Mr McGuire said, so they can see the lobsters go from the water to the processing plants and finally to the table.

He's confident the Chinese buyers liked what they saw.

"You never really have a deal until you have a deal," Mr McGuire said. "I think there's a lot of interest, and they're still waiting on some of the price and some of the product specifications."

More Chinese willing to pay for quality

High winds Tuesday meant there was little lobster being processed at the Ocean Choice International plant in Souris, but the buyers were interested in seeing the final product.

Importer Michael Tan, of Pan Fish Ltd., said this is just what his customers are looking for.

"In my opinion, Chinese people like whole lobster," Mr Tan said. "It looks valuable and beautiful."