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 19, 2012

On a Saturday afternoon, throngs of shoppers pile into Shapingba, a commercial hub in Chongqing, the megalopolis in southwestern China. Like most Chinese cities, Chongqing has been rebuilt as a sprawl of high rises and, lately, trendy U.S.-style commercial hubs such as the huge Capital Mall building above the Shapingba subway station into which a crush of mostly young punters file into to spend their wages on fashion and food.

New, well-run malls

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Published on
June 6, 2012

Zhejiang Provincial Ocean & Fisheries Bureau is reporting that local fishermen in the east coast province earned an average RMB 15,443 in 2011, a year-on-year increase of 11.6 percent.

The figure, however, looks modest next to the average urban wage in China but significantly better than rural incomes. Urban residents earned an average of RMB 23,979 in 2011 compared to a per-capita income of rural residents in 2011, which stood at RMB 6,977,

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Published on
May 30, 2012

China’s annual two-month ban on fishing in the South China Sea has taken on special significance this year — the Philippines and Vietnam have both said they don’t recognize the ban since it extends to their territorial waters.

China, meanwhile, has said the moratorium is a chance for peace in a simmering dispute with Manila over the Scarborough Reef (known as the Huangyu Islands in China), a group of islands that Beijing claims even though

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Published on
May 29, 2012

Delineation of China’s seafood-consuming income brackets is surprisingly easy during an hour at the fish counter at a Metro store in Shanghai.

Price-sensitive and picky, retired post office workers Mr. and Mrs. Zhang buy silver crucian carp for RMB 6 per 500 grams on Wednesday and hope to choose between bream (RMB 7.99 per “jin,” or 500 grams) and grass carp (RMB 7) if the prices remain the same when they return Saturday to the massive

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Published on
May 28, 2012

Norway’s salmon exports to China continue to be impacted by difficult diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Norwegian exporters have had to watch the Chinese salmon market grow 30 percent while Norway’s share has been eaten up by newcomers like Scotland. 

“We are in a very difficult situation now. Importers, distributors, everyone is finding it very difficult to get Norwegian salmon,” said Sigmund Bjorgo, director of China and

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Published on
May 24, 2012

Having lately fallen for oysters, Beijing’s conspicuous diners appear ready for the charms of blowfish, or pufferfish, one of the most notorious and treasured elements of Japanese seafood dining.

Next to a private hospital on Xinyuanli, a street in Beijing’s upmarket LiDu district, Tianzheng Hetun Restaurant is one of two restaurants opened in the past year by Dalian-based fish farming corporation of the same name. Known locally as hetun (and

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Published on
May 22, 2012

Marlin and butterfish are becoming popular fare for first-class passengers on China’s flagship carrier, Air China, according to the company that supplies seafood to Beijing Air Catering Co. Ltd.

Marlin may, however, be replaced on the first-class menu this year on cost grounds, according to Michael D. Liu, assistant to the general manager (purchasing) at food importer Beijing Foreign Trade Food Service Co. (BFT). A respected trade company

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Published on
May 21, 2012

High-end Madagascar shrimp will grace China’s tables beginning next month, when the first containers arrive from the African island nation. French-owned UNIMA Group plans to import 200 tons into Greater China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) this year, with plans for an additional 500 to 800 tons in 2013, according to Stephane Jackiw, head of commercial and retail sales at UNIMA.

Jackiw told SeafoodSource that demand for quality shrimp makes

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Published on
May 20, 2012

Trade experts in China’s seafood processing hub of Qingdao are optimistic that a new trade pact between China, Japan and Korea would propel modernization of the city’s industry and drive trade. Negotiations between China, Japan and Korea on a free trade pact will begin this summer and are scheduled to be completed in two years. Chinese sources have suggested that the agreement could lift the country’s GDP by 2.5 percent.

The pact will give

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Published on
May 14, 2012

Key economic data released last week by Beijing may have disappointed those who watch China’s economy, but it’s unlikely to halt the aggressive expansion plans of retailers and caterers seeking opportunities, particularly in China’s vast surroundings. Retail sales increased 14.1 percent in nominal terms in April, down from 15.2 percent in March and the slowest pace since December 2006. In real terms, retail sales rose 10.7 percent, the

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