First U.S. shellfish-focused trade mission to Europe scheduled for September


Food Export Northeast, a non-profit organization aimed at helping businesses in the Northeastern United States develop their export markets, is leading a trade mission to Europe for shellfish growers.

The mission, according to Food Export Northeast, will consist of visits to Yerske, the Netherlands and Paris, France in September. The goal is to expand the market for US shellfish farmers hoping to export live shellfish.

The trade mission itself is possible thanks to relatively recent developments in the ability of two US states to ship live shellfish to the European Union. After more than a decade of work, the United States Food and Drug Administration has finalized an “equivalence determination” concluding that EU countries, the Netherlands and Spain, can ship shellfish and live crustaceans in the United States. Soon after, the EU established similar new rules, allowing US states. from Massachusetts and Washington to send live shells to EU countries

The first shipments of live shells have already been exchanged. In March, the Dutch Fishing Federation celebrated the new trade destination at the Seafood Expo North America 2022 with a tasting of oysters from the Netherlands.

“It’s a long, dusty road,” Dave Bout, founder and owner of Seafarm BV in the Netherlands, told SeafoodSource at the show.

Now Food Export Northeast Seafood program coordinator Colleen Coyne told SeafoodSource that the organization hopes to expand markets in Europe for its members in the United States.

“To our knowledge, there have not yet been any other shellfish trade missions,” Coyne said.

Food Export Northeast represents 10 states in the Northeastern United States, from Maine to Delaware. All states are welcome to participate in the trade mission, Coyne said, although Massachusetts is currently the only state in the region authorized to send seashells to the EU.

“We hope to have different states approved soon, but we wanted to take advantage of at least one state being approved,” Coyne said. “We have also invited businesses from across the region as this is an opportunity to learn and get advanced insights before states are approved, and hopefully they can get started as soon as that happens. .”

In addition to getting information about buyers, pickers and growers can learn farming techniques from their European counterparts, Andrew Haught, Food Export Northeast’s international marketing program manager, told SeafoodSource.

“American harvesters will want to see the differences in the Netherlands and to see the differences in how the harvest is done,” he said.

According to Coyne, the interest in expanding the US oyster market and the demand for oysters are definitely there. Companies have already sought to develop more sales to the EU, in part because industry in the northeastern United States has grown so rapidly, she said.

“It’s doubled in the last five years, and it’s about to double again, which means the industry could use finding additional markets for its products,” Coyne said.

Oyster landings and production in Massachusetts were $9.1 million (€8.6 million) in 2010. In 2019, they more than tripled to $30.1 million (€28.5 million). EUR). Other states in the northeastern United States have seen similar growth. The state of Maine’s oyster harvest was worth $1.3 million (€1.2 million) ten years ago and $10 million (€9.4 million) in 2021.

Coyne said the trade mission will focus on finding customers in the EU who are looking to buy more live shellfish.

“They’re not just targeting shoppers, they’re targeting chefs as well,” Coyne said.

The trade mission will include one-on-one meetings with buyers, pre-event product research; national market presentations by USDA, NOAA and local industry experts; Promotional material; and more, according to Food Export Northeast. The deadline for registration is July 20, 2022.

“We encourage businesses in our 10 Northeastern states to consider the business,” Coyne said.

Photo courtesy of Jim Cork/Shutterstock


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