Tense relations do not detract from Canadian presence at major Chinese seafood show

Canadian participation in a Chinese seafood fair next month will be hampered by quarantine requirements related to COVID-19, not China’s treatment of the two Michael’s, Victoria Co-operative chief executive said. Fisheries.

Thirty-three Canadian seafood companies, industry associations and governments are participating in the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo in the port city of Qingdao, north of Shanghai. Most of the Canadian representation will come from Chinese representatives.

Nova Scotia shellfish exporter Victoria Co-operative Fisheries will have a booth, but general manager Osborne Burke says the company will not participate.

“There are too many challenges with that,” he said. “And the recommendation from government officials was to seek internal consultants to represent your company at the show, and that’s exactly why we are doing what we are doing. This is the best scenario we can do and still beat. the flag for Nova Scotia. “

Two federal departments – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Fisheries and Oceans – are registered for a booth in the Canadian pavilion, as are several provincial governments, including British Columbia, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Lobster is a major export from Nova Scotia, with shipments to China valued at $ 457 million in 2019. (The Associated Press)

China’s treatment of recently released Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor has not stopped Canada’s $ 1 billion seafood exports to its second largest market.

The frigid relationship caused by their detention also did not deter participation in the upcoming Canadian Seafood Conference, which will be held as part of the exhibition, event organizer Yang said. Xue of the Atlantic Canada Business Network, based in Bedford, Nova Scotia.

British Columbia and Quebec have signed for the second year of the event.

Provincial fisheries ministers, including Nova Scotia’s Steve Craig, provided pre-recorded messages for the conference, Xue said. The same is true of representatives of Canadian industry, such as Ocean Choice International and the Lobster Council of Canada.

“The event is getting better and stronger and sending a very positive message to the market by promoting our seafood in the right way,” said Xue. “This is why the conferences continue to attract more and more provinces and companies to join us.

Yang Xue is an organizer of the Canada Seafood Conference, which is being held as part of the upcoming Qingdao China Expo. (SRC)

China has become an increasingly important market for Canada’s main seafood exporting province: Nova Scotia.

Live lobster shipments from Nova Scotia to China were valued at $ 457 million in 2019.

Trade in several species continued.

Victoria Co-operative crab and lobster processor has cargo on a ship bound for China. For Burke, what happened to Canadian inmates is a reality.

“You never know what can happen,” he said. “We saw that with the two Michaels, for some reason they suddenly decide they need a token hostage or two, it could happen.”

Robet Huish, an international development expert at Dalhousie University, said Burke was right.

Michael’s release after Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou reaches deal with US prosecutors to drop charges against her is proof that China “is not above hostage diplomacy and that everyone is a fair game, ”he said.

Seafood vulnerable to Chinese agenda, says prof

Huish said Atlantic Canadian seafood could easily be tossed overboard by China if it suited China’s interests.

“Atlantic Canadian seafood is still a luxury in China and a very limited market when you consider the population as a whole,” he said.

“They are looking to cut carbon emissions as a country and an easy way to do that would be to cancel orders for planes full of live lobster.”

The Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture said it had no one available to comment on CBC News.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada did not respond either.

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