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New Technology Boosts Atlantic Canada

Ellen Hardy
08 May 2008, at 1:00am

CANADA - The first ocean freight system for live shellfish was launched by Aqualife Logistics and Maersk Line at the Atlantic Canada Seafood Showcase in Brussels, recently.

The new system, which is expected to open the European market to live mussels, clams, snow crab and other shellfish from Atlantic Canada, was introduced to the seafood buyers at the European Seafood Exhibition.

This system, in which live shellfish are shipped in 1500-litre tanks packed in containers, greatly increases the shelf life of the product and reduces the shipping cost by 30 to 80 per cent, compared to airfreight, according to Aqualife.

"This will stimulate the growth of the live shellfish market in Europe," said Lars Nannerup, co-founder of Aqualife in Naerum, Denmark.

Fresh shellfish sales are growing at an annual rate of 8,8 percent while frozen shellfish sales are increasing at an annual rate at only 3,3 percent, said Nannerup. The Belgiens alone consume about 80.000 metric tons of mussels annually he added.

The system is also enviromentally friendly and reduces the carbon footprint of transporting live shellfish. Shipping live shellfish by ocean freight is 30 times cleaner then by air freight, according to Aqualife.

In development for four years, the system is already in operation from North America to a receiving facility in Spain, and Aqualife and Maersk are working to establish a receiving facility to serve the French market. The companies also plans to target the Asian market.