Snow crab from Australia fetches premium prices in east China

Published on
November 28, 2016

Snow crab from Australia has made its debut at the Hangzhou Xiaoshan Airport, thanks to two English teachers who turned to seafood import business when they saw the potential demand in Hangzhou, one of eastern coastal China’s wealthiest cities.

A foreign-owned local firm, Ao Hai Zhi Sheng, imports crabs from Chaceon, the large Australian seafood firm which controls 30 percent of the snow crab catch on Australia’s west coast. The new business has been able to import crab from Australia within 48 hours of it being caught.
The local quarantine inspection body General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), has been keen to cooperate, according to an interview with the owner of Ao Hai Zhi Sheng, only named as Roland, in the Hangzhou-based Mei Ri RiBao newspaper.

The newspaper also reported that large-sized crabs are in demand among prestigious Chinese buyers.

“Crabs with pure snow white belly and legs, the 75 kg of crab fetched USD 2,727 [EUR 2,576],” according to the newspaper.

It’s not clear who paid such a high price, but a demand for live seafood product and good prices – CNY 480 (USD 69.50, EUR 65.66) per kilo for premium crabs at Hangzhou markets – convinced the Australians it was worth a try, hence their trial shipment of snow crabs which arrived with some fanfare at the city’s airport this month.

Hangzhou’s airport handled 442 tons of live seafood in the first 10 months of this year, according to the AQSIQ, with abalone, Boston lobster and mussels among the biggest volume species.

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