World’s largest rock lobster exporter targets Chinese market
Fresh off of a 10-day tour through China, meeting with various clients throughout the country’s ports and facilities, members of Australia’s Geraldton Fishermen’s Cooperative (GFC) are rounding out their key market journey with a trip to Hong Kong for Seafood Expo Asia, taking place 5 to 7 September.
The cooperative, which was established by fishermen nearly 70 years ago in 1950, has developed into the world’s largest rock lobster exporter, accounting for 64 percent of the entire West Australia rock lobster commercial export volume, according to GFC. The free-trade agreement established between China and Australia will play a large part in ensuring that a bulk of this rock lobster export volume is shipped directly to China, said the cooperative.
Currently, annual GFC turnover amounts to USD 400 million (337 million), with China standing as the cooperative’s most important market, said GFC Deputy Chairman Basil Lenzo.
“Of all of GFC’s markets, no market is more important to GFC than China. Indeed, no market is more important to Australia than China. GFC values the strong partnership it has forged with the Australian and Chinese governments and GFC is very enthusiastic about the future trading relationship with this great country,” Lenzo said during the group’s tour of China.
“We are pleased to announce that GFC fishermen have now established their own company and quality assured live lobster supply chain in China,” Lenzo added. “GFC is, first and foremost, an Australian exporter, so although we have been building an in-market presence here in China, GFC has no intention of acting alone. GFC is very proud of the strong relationships it enjoys with so many exceptional companies and people in China and we look forward to a future which is mutually rewarding for both them and our fishermen.”
The cooperative recently celebrated the opening of a new facility nearby the Perth airport, which is equipped with modernized, high-efficiency technology and processes aligned with the demands of the live lobster supply chain. The facility can hold more than 80 tons of live rock lobsters in its 1.4-million-liter cooling sea water receptacle, said GFC, and “the entire aquarium system will be connected to intelligent terminal to ensure the internal air and temperature maintain monitored and within the standard range."
Live lobsters from the facility can be airfreighted to the Chinese market directly, touching down and being received by GFC’s holding facilities in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.
The group is still owned and operated by fishermen, with third-generation fishing family members at the helm of GFC in management roles. The fishermen acquire their prized rock lobster catch along the 1,000-kilometer coastline in West Australia and annually deliver more than 4,000 metric tons of lobster; GFC also provides 180 metric tons of live lobster storage each year.
GFC will be exhibiting at Seafood Expo Asia in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, in Wanchai, Hong Kong at stand No. 5-616.