Chinese Fish Farmers Produce Sea Cucumber Glut

By

Keith Crane, SeafoodSource contributing editor, from Guangdong Province, China

Published on
December 3, 2008

Chinese fish farmers have produced a glut of one of the country's most prized delicacies, sea cucumbers, potentially hurting Japanese sea cucumber exporters.

Sea slug, or sea cucumber, is considered one of the most prized dishes at banquets and family gatherings across China.

But too many fish farmers have turned their attention to its production instead of other products such as sleeve-fish, shrimp and crab, overwhelming the market with supplies and drastically reducing its market price.

According to the Chinese seafood Web site www.seafoodchina.com on Tuesday, domestic prices fell from $25 to $19 per kilogram last month after output rose by 11 percent last year.

Farmers turned to breeding the product after a sharp rise in prices in previous years with Laizhou, in Northeast Shandong, seeing 1,000 farms established over the past two years using new breeding technology and also reducing the production cycle.

Japan, which last year saw exports of sea slug to China worth $150 million, is set to be the biggest victim of the oversupply, although figures have yet to be published.

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