Massachusetts Export Center


South Coast Today


New Bedford should heed Europe's call
for seafood, experts say


By Becky W. Evans
Standard-Times staff writer
November 3, 2007


NEW BEDFORD City seafood suppliers should take advantage of Europe's strong and growing market for fish, lobster, scallops and other seafood products, according to seafood export specialists.

European countries are becoming more dependent on seafood imports due to increased consumption and declining harvests, said Stephane Vrignaud, a U.S. Department of Commerce fishery trade specialist to the European Union.

Mr. Vrignaud joined a panel of export specialists who advised local and regional seafood suppliers about European export opportunities Friday at the Quest Center.

The seminar, which drew about 50 participants, was sponsored by Food Export USA-Northeast and the Massachusetts Export Center.

New Bedford seafood exporters can find markets for live lobster, squid and scallops in Spain and Italy; and for mackerel, squid and lobster in Portugal, said David McClellan of Food Export USA-Northeast.

In France, demand for both fresh and frozen U.S. scallops has surged, said Nelly Masson of Markonsult.

Odile Texier, who chairs France's National Association of Foreign Trade for Frozen Food Products, warned that her organization is now monitoring for unfair practices in seafood and aquaculture products such as soaking fish products in water and using polyphosphates, a chemical additive.

"We in the seafood import industry would like to continue to improve our imports from the U.S. but we want it to go through the best practices," she said.

High tariffs, complex legislation and ever-changing rules are among the challenges seafood exporters may face when sending products to countries in the European Union, Mr. Vrignaud said.

Tom Tweedy of Marder Trawling, Inc. in New Bedford said the seminar provided helpful ways to navigate the complex world of international exports.

His company is interested in increasing its scallop exports, he said.

New Bedford Mayor Scott W. Lang said the city is "looking for ways to continue to expand the seafood industry.

"Our goal is to be able to say we provide the safest, highest quality seafood in the world," he said.




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