New technology Opens European Market to Live Shellfish From Atlantic Canada

Aqualife Logistics and Maersk Line launched the first ever ocean freight system for live shellfish at the Atlantic Canada Seafood Showcase at Hotel Le Meridien in Brussels on Monday night.

The new system, which is expected to open the European market to live mussels, clams, snow crab and other shellfish from Atantic Canada, was introduced to seafood buyers at the European Seafood Exposition on Tuesday.

Live shellfish are shipped in 1,500-liter tanks packed in containers, which greatly increases the shelf life of the product and reduces the shipping cost by 30 to 80 percent, compared to air freight, according to Aqualife.

"This will stimulate the growth of the live shellfish market in Europe," said Lars Nannerup, co-founder of Aqualife Life in Naerum, Denmark.

Fresh shellfish sales are growing 8.8 percent annually, while frozen shellfish sales are increasing 3.3 percent annually, said Nannerup. The Belgians alone consume about 80,000 metric tons of mussels annually, he added.

In addition to lowering the shipping cost, the new system is environmentally friendly and reduces the carbon footprint of transporting live shellfish. Shipping live shellfish by ocean frieght is 30 times cleaner than by air freight, according to Aqualife.

In development for four years, the system is being used with shipments from North America to a receiving facility in Spain, and Aqualife and Maersk are working to establish a receiving facility to serve the French market. The companies also plan to target Asian markets.

Speaking to a packed room of seafood buyers and suppliers, Alastair O'Rielly, deputy minister of Newfoundland and Labrador Fisheries and Aquaculture, said the new system will revolutionize his province's live shellfish industry.

Last year, Canada, one of the world's largest seafood-producing countries, exported more than 670 million metric tons of seafood valued at $3.9 billion.


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