Mark Godfrey

Contributing Editor

Mark Godfrey is an Irish journalist covering the agriculture and fisheries sectors in Asia, with a focus on China. Proficient in Mandarin, he has frequently traveled across China's fisheries and aquaculture regions and learned the inner workings of China's corporate world during a nearly three-year stint at the Financial Times' “China Confidential” publication. He has also reported widely across Southeast Asia and the former Soviet Union. He has educational certificates in agriculture and food science, as well as Mandarin.

Published on
June 5, 2015

Much was made by the announcement recently that CNY 20 billion (USD 3.2 billion; EUR 2.8 billion) in low-interest loans would be available to fishermen and fish farmers through the Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC). The package is part of a 2013 blueprint from China’s State Council or cabinet, for the “promotion of sustainable and healthy development of fisheries.”

The funds to be dispersed through the PSBC is to be welcomed but may

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Published on
June 2, 2015

China’s state run media has accused the EU of hypocrisy and hit back at claims of illegal fishing by its vessels in West African waters. EU fisheries have for decades emptied African waters through unfair deals with local governments, according to an article on the state-run Pengpai News, a mouthpiece for Chinese government views.

The lengthy article was published recently in response to a Greenpeace report that claims 183 illegal fishing

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Published on
June 2, 2015

Chinese prosecutors are preparing court cases to try the country’s biggest-ever seafood smuggling bust after scores of arrests nationwide of alleged seafood smugglers who smuggled product into China – and mislabeled salmon as mackerel in order to pay lower customs taxes.

The charges are focused on the southern province of Guangdong, near Hong Kong, where authorities claim to have seized 300 metric tons (MT) of imported seafood — part of a

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Published on
June 2, 2015

Frozen seafood production has declined in China’s traditional processing regions as new hubs like Tianjin and large inland cities have emerged as new areas for frozen seafood consumption.

Overall Chinese production of frozen seafood totaled 3.02 million metric tons (MT) in the first four months of 2015 — up just over 3 percent on the same period last year, according to the country’s ministry of commerce. The eastern province of Jiangsu

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Published on
May 28, 2015

It’s an indication of the profit margins in quality food that Suning, China’s largest electronics retailer, has lately ventured into online sales of fresh food, going to the huge expense of putting overseas procurement and cold chain operations in place across the country. Suning has watched jealously while online retailer Tmall.com last year reported triple-digit growth in food sales, with seafood the fastest-growing

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Published on
May 22, 2015

China’s seafood buyers are taking on larger volumes of seafood but paying lower prices. Imports meanwhile fell back in the first three months of the year as the country’s economy softened.

Prices for seafood are showing weak growth in the first quarter, according to the fisheries bureau at the Department of Agriculture in Beijing, which collects data from wholesale markets nationwide. Wholesale volumes rose 23.5 percent in the first three

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Published on
May 22, 2015

A deal that could boost China’s seafood output more than any other was signed recently by one of China’s top fish feed companies — and a solar energy company. Tongwei Group Co. signed an agreement with GCL System Integration Technology Co. to co-operate on high-efficiency solar farms that will be installed over ponds at fish farms controlled by Tongwei (which aside from processing and selling feed also farms tilapia and shrimp) or its

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Published on
May 13, 2015

Weaker demand for high-end species has badly hit results for a big-name Chinese seafood processor and aquaculture player. Homey Aquatic Development Company’s profits fell a massive 82 percent to CNY 21 million (USD 3.3 million; EUR 2.94 million) last year, according to just-released company data for 2014. 

Weak demand for sea cucumbers in particular hit Homey’s earnings, with a huge 80.6 percent fall in company earnings under the

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Published on
May 6, 2015

Tighter competition and squeezed margins are being blamed for poor financial results at one of China’s leading processing and aquaculture firms. Yantai-based Oriental Ocean Sci Tech Co. saw its profits tumble 27 percent in 2014 to CNY 41.5 million (USD 6.64 million; EUR 5.81 million).

Revenue for the year at CNY 605 million (USD 96.8 million; EUR 84.7 million) was down 1.79 percent. “Fierce competition” among processors was the main cause

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Published on
May 5, 2015

Two of China’s key seafood-producing regions have made another effort at extending insurance to the highly fragmented aquaculture sector. The coastal city of Yantai has launched what it’s terming the first mariculture weather index insurance policies — part of a new effort to get 90 percent of local farmed seafood stocks insured by 2020.

Home to more than 70 percent of the country’s cultured shellfish output, Yantai has convinced the

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