Zoneco abandons scallop farming, shifts to processing, sourcing work

Zoneco products being displayed at the 2024 Seafood Expo Global
Zoneco products being displayed at the 2024 Seafood Expo Global | Photo by Mark Godfrey/SeafoodSource
4 Min

Formerly focused on breeding and growing scallops, Chinese seafood firm Zoneco is now focused on attracting processing and sourcing work for Western clients.

Zoneco has struggled with profitability since large-scale mortalities occurred in its scallop beds in 2014, 2017, and 2019 due to high water temperatures. It subsequently faced a string of legal cases brought by investors, the loss of its Marine Stewardship Council certification, and the firing of its former management after the company received a significant fine from China’s securities regulator.

It became a state-owned enterprise in 2022, with the Changhai County Zhangzidao Investment and Development Centre, a local government investment vehicle, becoming its majority shareholder now.

Since then, Zoneco has been repositioning itself as a processor and distributor, reducing emphasis on its scallop aquaculture operations, but in the past few months, Zoneco has run into issues surrounding Japanese scallops following the Chinese ban on Japanese seafood imports. Namely, Japan’s scallops are being redirected to the U.S. market after the ban, which has long been a domain of the Chinese scallop industry.

Zoneco Managing Director Liu Qiang told SeafoodSource at the 2024 Seafood Expo Global that his firm is concentrating on sourcing fish products for the high-end Chinese market. Among its offerings at this year's expo, which took place from 23 to 25 April in Barcelona, Spain, were frozen, packaged Greenland halibut steaks and frozen Norwegian salmon fillets. Liu said the products are being sold through e-commerce channels and supermarkets in China.

Liu also said Zoneco wants to tap the growing trend among affluent Chinese for pre-prepared seafood meals. He said the company is now selling a Norwegian mackerel fillet cooked with miso sauce as one of its first attempts to enter the space.

Zoneco’s processing clients include Australia-based KB Seafood, for which it processes a range of battered whiting sold under the By George brand.

Scallops, however, still ...

SeafoodSource Premium

Become a Premium member to unlock the rest of this article.

Continue reading ›

Already a member? Log in ›


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500
Editor's Choice