2011 China Fisheries & Seafood Expo Sets Records Published: 15 November, 2011 Chinas increasingly insatiable appetite for seafood was never more apparent than at this years record-setting China Fisheries & Seafood Expo, which concluded November 3rd in Qingdao. More than 800 companies filled all four halls of the Qingdao International Convention Center. A record 15,300 visitors attended, nearly a 50% increase from last years show in Dalian. Companies from almost 80 countries participated.To say the Chinese market is red hot is an accurate statement, said Peter Redmayne, president of Sea Fare Expositions, Inc., the shows co-organiser. Weve been at this for 16 years and while Chinese seafood consumption has always been growing weve never seen anything like this.In his speech at the Opening Ceremony, Redmayne noted that China is the engine that is driving the global seafood industry. Seafood consumption is declining in traditional major markets like Japan, the U.S. and the EU. Fortunately for seafood producers, thats not the case in China, the worlds largest seafood market. The 2011 edition of China Fisheries and Seafood Expo was a raging success said long-time exhibitor Jock Bray, of Canadas Aqualine Seafoods.This is not a show where people just come to meet their existing customers and to be seen, said Jennie Fu, marketing manager for Sea Fare Expositions. This is a show where people buy and sell seafood, lots of seafood.Exhibitors like Spains Iberconsa came to the show looking to promote their Argentinean shrimp and quickly wrote orders for 70 metric tons. Big Chinese seafood exporting companies, who in past years exhibited mainly in search of overseas buyers, are now focused increasingly on markets in China. One of the countrys biggest shrimp exporters, Zhanjiang Guolian Aquatic Products Co. Ltd., rolled out a line of value-added shrimp products and a new television commercial to promote it. Demand in China is so strong, the company says it is now importing 200 containers of shrimp to meet demand in China.That has attracted shrimp producing companies from around the world to the show.At the Ecuador pavilion business was brisk, even though Ecuador grows Penaeus vannamei, the same species grown in China, and Ecuador imports into China are subject to a tariff and value-added tax. China has also shown it wants more and more high-end seafood products. UNIMA, a producer of farmed black tiger shrimp from Madagascar and a first time exhibitor at the show, was in search of customers willing to pay a premium for its shrimp. According to company representative RamAvarasala, Chinese interest is strong and some buyers appear ready to pay significantly more for the highest quality seafood. Lobster is still another example. This years show featured more than two dozen companies selling American lobster. So far this year, Chinese imports of American lobster have soared from less than 100 metric tons last year to almost 1,000 metric tons this year.The China market is the place to be, says Beijing-based lobster importer Lucky Lu of AIS AquaFoods. This business here is so good everybody wants a part of it, he says.Lu, who used to be a major bay scallop and shrimp exporter, says all the focus these days is on the China market. Im always looking for new suppliers and products, so tell people to call me.This years China Fisheries & Seafood Expo grew from 1,700 booths last year to just over 2,000 booths this year, an increase of about 20 percent, says Yang Hong, general manager of Sea Fare (China) Ltd. in Beijing. Several new countries like Morocco and Indonesia have expressed interest in exhibiting pavilions next year, but finding space is increasingly a challenge for the fast-growing show, which is now the second largest seafood show in the world after the Brussels seafood show.We will only have the same space available as this year, says Hong, even though we have added a hall in Dalian. I dont know where we can put all the new companies who want to exhibit. In China, we like to build things fast, but I dont know if we can expand these convention centers fast enough for this show.