In the first three months of 2018, the country’s Quanzhou port reported a 259 per cent increase in catch yields, soaring to 7,785 tons.
And now the local Chinese branch of the state’s Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine says they want to diversify the markets they sell to, pointing to the Cook Islands in particular.
If they were to do this, it could mean we’d be eating fish from Cook Islands waters that have completed a round trip to China and back.
However, chief executive officer for the Business Trade and Investment Board, Teariki Vaikalalabure, says he is “not aware of any local importers of seafood products planning to buy from China”.
Vaikalalabure admits developing Cook Islands trade links “could allow” for the import of Chinese seafood and says that it is a matter of “price and quality”.
“I know we source other goods from China” says Vaikalalabure. However, he says any plan to import fish would be a commercial decision that would be up to seafood retailers in the Cook Islands.
Quanzhou appears to be focusing on producing cheaper fish products. Shipments of canned produce being exported from the port rose 166 per cent, reaching a total of $9.6 million in the first quarter of this year.
Angola and Seychelles are also seen as potential export markets for the Chinese. Along with the Cook Islands, these territories are popular fishing spots for Chinese trawlers.