China looks to NSW South Coast for fish

CHINA could be looking to import fish such as tuna, Australian salmon and mackerel from the NSW South Coast, the South Coast Register has reported. 

The development comes after a recent visit to Ulladulla by Chinese agriculture officials.

The potential for a boost to the local commercial fishing industry was raised when the officials inspected the Ulladulla Fishermen’s Co-op, where the possibility of sending fish from Ulladulla was raised, as was the notion of Chinese interests investing in Ulladulla as part of a joint enterprise.

“They were very, very impressed,” said co-op chairman Mario Puglisi.

The Register reports Paul Lavalle’s boat South Seas helped seal the positive impression when it arrived with a load of bluefin tuna just as members of the four-person delegation were heading off to lunch.

The delegation from the rural co-operative economy division was headed by high-ranking Chinese official Ruijie Guan, a former director-general of the Fisheries Bureau in the Ministry of Agriculture.

He said there was a potential market for the high-quality product processed through the Ulladulla co-op.

“In the big hotels, in the fancy restaurants, they all serve tuna,” Mr Guan said through interpreter Li Xi.

While Mr Guan said there was a market for the top-end tuna already attracting premium prices in Japanese markets, he was also interested in low-cost fish that could become part of the staple diet of the nation’s people.

Seafood exporter and co-op member Dick Perese said he was able to supply large volumes of low-cost Australian salmon and yellow-tail mackerel for the Chinese market, and even offered samples of cold-smoked Australian salmon.

“If the price is competitive it will be very popular in China,” Mr Guan said.

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