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.


Author Archive

Published on
December 5, 2023

A senior researcher at China’s Ministry of Agriculture recently gave an upbeat assessment on the country’s seafood import market, signaling that although the nation remains a powerhouse in domestic seafood production, it will maintain its newfound status as a net importer for the foreseeable future.

“The potential for seafood imports will be fully unleashed soon,” Xie Zhongmin, the deputy head of research at the

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Published on
November 29, 2023

China became a net importer of seafood in 2022, and that trend is likely to continue as the country has prioritized exporting higher-value industrial products like automobiles over lower-value export commodities like processed fish, according to Gorjan Nikolik, the chief seafood analyst at Dutch financial services company Rabobank.

China, which surpassed Japan this summer in becoming the world’s top exporter of cars, seems primed to become

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Published on
November 28, 2023

Irish Fish Producers Organization CEO Aodh O’Donnell has accused Iceland of deliberately pursuing a policy of overfishing over the past decade while it fixes a unilateral mackerel quota almost three times greater than that of Ireland.

Iceland is “plundering” mackerel stocks for use in fishmeal production as part of its effort to establish claims on stocks through self-allocated quotas, according to O’Donnell, who said

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Published on
November 24, 2023

A visit by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to the China Export Import Fair in Shanghai on 5 November partially aimed to encourage the Chinese government to renew its approval of permits for Australian seafood companies seeking to export lobster.

Albanese’s visit was the latest step in the normalization of relations between the two countries, but this thawing has yet to deliver any major benefit to the seafood sector, despite the

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Published on
November 23, 2023

China, the world’s biggest exporter of seafood, could soon face tighter access to the European Union, the world’s biggest import market for seafood.

The European Parliament’s adoption of new fisheries control rules will result in more scrutiny of the origins of Chinese seafood, according to a parliamentary report investigating the implications of accepting Chinese products into the bloc.

China shipped USD 2.2 billion (EUR 2

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Published on
November 20, 2023

Chinese customs authorities have confirmed that the country’s seafood imports are up 13 percent over the first three quarters of 2023, but that imports from important supplier markets are down over the same period, sending mixed signals to exporters on the status of the market overall.

One of those key suppliers is the U.S. state of Alaska, and Alaskan exports to China are down 8 percent by volume in 2023, according to data compiled for

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Published on
November 17, 2023

At a recent meeting between European and Chinese officials, a European fisheries representative complimented China’s ability to crack down on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities, drawing criticism from other European officials, especially as the bloc has taken action to limit rampant Chinese IUU actions.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, the commissioner for the environment, oceans, and fisheries at the European

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Published on
November 13, 2023

The Irish seafood industry has welcomed a EUR 25 million (USD 26.5 million) aid package recently granted by the European Union that aims to alleviate some of the negative effects of Brexit, such as reduced quotas and a downsized national fleet, which have led to skyrocketing local seafood prices and depressed consumption, Irish fishers claim.

Though most Irish seafood industry players think the package will provide some relief, they also believe

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Published on
November 10, 2023

Negotiators at the World Trade Organization (WTO) are intensifying talks to reach an agreement on a draft text that would limit subsidies driving overfishing and overcapacity among global fishing fleets.

Icelandic Ambassador to the WTO Einar Gunnarsson, who has been chairing the negotiations, said he hopes to get a deal outlined before the organization’s ministerial meeting in February.

“I can tell you we are really turning up the

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Published on
November 2, 2023

China is requiring its entire distant-water fleet to implement electronic monitoring on its ships from 2024 onward, according to a new government whitepaper that comes soon after the release of a bombshell Outlaw Ocean report focusing on alleged worker abuses that occurred on some of the nation’s distant-water trawlers.

The report links specific Chinese processing companies to state-run labor programs that have subjected the Uyghur ethnic

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