Maltese bluefin pivot toward China seen as strategic hedge against overreliance on Japan

Maltese fishing boats at the port of Marsaxlokk
Maltese fishing boats at the port of Marsaxlokk | Photo courtesy of arkanto/Shutterstock
4 Min

Maltese farmed tuna producers are planning to send more of their exports to China in the near future as part of market diversification efforts to reduce its currently heavy reliance on Japan.

Charlon Gouder, the head of aquaculture resource firm Gouder and Associates as well as the CEO of the Maltese Federation of Aquaculture Producers, said Maltese tuna firms are at “an advanced stage” of talks with Chinese food safety authorities to begin exporting to China.

“Once finalized, exports of bluefin tuna can commence,” Gouder told SeafoodSource. "The majority of tuna being shipped to China will originate from capture-based aquaculture.”

This shift follows comments made in 2023 by Maltese Fishing Minister Anton Refalo, who called the small island nation’s reliance on Japan “a problem” and said he wanted the tuna sector to diversify its export markets while also extracting more value currently going to Japanese buyers, who, in turn, sometimes reexport Maltese seafood to lucrative Chinese clients.

In an attempt to cut out some of these middlemen, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the ... 

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