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
March 18, 2012

While there are signs that China’s economic growth is moderating, rising labor costs remain a challenge amongst the country’s seafood industry. Local seafood processing facilities are sacrificing profits to secure labor, said Landy Chow, head of Siam Canadian’s operations here.

“At this moment in China factories are running at a margin of 1 to 3 percent, which is very low,” he said. “Some factories did hire less in order to

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Published on
March 14, 2012

China’s middle classes are increasingly being catered to by retail chains opening stores tailored in layout and prices to the country’s wealthy.

Based in a marble-lined Beijing residential compound below a Starbucks and a fitness club, City Shop emphasizes its imported food lines. A City Shop outlet in Beijing’s business district charges RMB 266 for a kilogram of Norwegian salmon, over 50 percent more expensive than the price at nearby

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Published on
March 8, 2012

China’s freshwater fish farmers may be relieved this week to find that water quality is a top priority for 2012 in the premier Wen Jiabao’s state-of-the-union style work report to the annual National People’s Congress. Government has marked RMB 1.8 trillion for “water conservation” — largely plugging leaks and building wastewater treatment plants — through 2015, reiterated Wen, who also promised to raise urban and industrial water

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Published on
March 5, 2012

E-commerce, wildly popular in traffic-paralyzed cities, is fast becoming a cost-effective option for seafood traders. Extensive seafood offerings have popped up on the country’s leading shopping portal, Taobao.com, and online grocery store Yihaodian.com. Traders on both websites point to the lower costs of doing business as well as the increasing acceptance of online shopping in China.

Seafood marketing professionals see online sales as a

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Published on
February 12, 2012

Lower transportation and labor costs are allowing AgriMarine Holdings’ salmon farmed in China to compete against imports, even though salmon prices are dropping.

Three years into operation, AgriMarine’s output of Pacific steelhead salmon has all been sold, according to the company, which will bring its first China-farmed chinook salmon to market by mid-2012. Taste and appearance are similar to salmon produced by AgriMarine in Canada, said

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Published on
February 5, 2012

“I want to bring oyster culture to China,” said Chris Herbert, a Canadian seafood importer and co-owner of the Starfish seafood restaurant and oyster bar in Beijing.

Starfish seems well located, opposite the embassy of Canada, a favorite emigration destination among China’s wealthy. Business is brisk for the co-owners, Herbert and his Taiwanese-American partner Alisha Bailey. The duo has oysters flown in from Seattle once a week. Most of

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Published on
January 26, 2012

China’s inland fisheries face a grim future due to chronic droughts gripping the country’s major central provinces. As China chases economic growth through investment in infrastructure and manufacturing, the twin pressures of urbanization and industrialization are siphoning the country’s water resources and putting inland fishermen out of work.

Boats have been tied this month on Poyang Lake, the country’s largest freshwater lake, and

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Published on
January 22, 2012

Media exposure is vital to sales for foreign importers and seafood promotion bodies.

“Comparatively limited resources” for mainstream advertising means seafood promoters must create editorial by engaging influential TV chefs, food writers and bloggers, said Fan Xubing, managing director of Beijing Seabridge Marketing and Consulting Co., Ltd. He has negotiated valuable media coverage for a growing number of seafood trade bodies on Chinese TV

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Published on
January 19, 2012

The rapid rollout of fast-food chains across China is driving a switch to frozen, convenience-style seafood judging by visits to KFC outlets in Beijing.

The U.S.-based chain is currently running a promotion on shrimp burgers and breaded shrimp balls in its north China stores. A KFC outlet in the city’s southern railway station, however, was sold out of the RMB 15 breaded burgers, which are advertised prominently in boarding and LED screens in

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Published on
January 5, 2012

Editor’s note: SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Mark Godfrey reports from Xiamen, China, this week. 

As Chinese consumers become increasingly prosperous, they’re travelling more. And as Chinese New Year, the busiest travel period of the year, approaches, savvy Chinese seafood retailers and processors are capitalizing on festive demand to drive sales among travelers.

In the prosperous south coast city of Xiamen, a key seafood-processing and

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