Norway markets mackerel as premium product in China amid sustainability concerns

Rows of mackerel laid on ice.

The Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) has begun to market the country’s mackerel products in China, including through partnerships with Chinese social media influencers, despite ongoing concerns over the stock’s sustainability throughout Europe.

The council recently partnered with Chinese chef Ren Yun Li, whose main account on the app Weibo has 3.2 million followers, and hosted her as a featured attendee at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai in November 2023. At the show, she demonstrated to visitors how Norwegian mackerel can complement traditional Chinese dishes and highlighted the fish’s health benefits.

This collaboration came after Ren traveled to Norway as a guest of the NSC, where she and other Chinese visitors toured a mackerel processing plant in Ålesund on the country’s west coast. Guided by NSC staff, the group also visited salmon and shrimp facilities in Norway.

Andreas Thorud, the former head of NSC’s office in China until October 2023, when he joined Nordic Aqua Partners, said at the time that these types of partnerships were just the beginning of the organization’s marketing effort.

“NSC is working hard to promote various Norwegian seafood products including salmon, cod, mackerel, and shrimp and make sure these high-quality products are accepted and understood by a wider range of Chinese consumers,” he said.

The NSC initiative comes at a time when many in the seafood industry remain concerned over the sustainability of mackerel stocks in Europe

Photo courtesy of Norwegian Seafood Council

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