Pandemic hasn't slowed China's love for US lobster | AP News

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — China is showing no signs of slowing its demand for American lobster this year despite disruption to the supply chain and international trade caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus Pandemic, Health

1/17/2022 8:31:00 PM

China is still buying millions of pounds of American lobsters despite disruption to the supply chain and international trade caused by the coronavirus pandemic . Lobsters are a popular delicacy on Chinese New Year, which is Feb. 1 this year.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — China is showing no signs of slowing its demand for American lobster this year despite disruption to the supply chain and international trade caused by the coronavirus pandemic .

China buys lobsters from the U.S. — where the industry is based mostly in Maine — and Canada, where the industry is situated in the Atlantic provinces. Exports from Canada were up even more than the U.S. the first 11 months of 2021 compared to 2020, said John Sackton, an industry analyst and founder of SeafoodNews.com.

Signs point to a strong season for the industry, Sackton said. Consumption of seafood could also get a boost from the Beijing Winter Olympics, which are set to start a few days after Chinese New Year, he said.“I’ve seen nothing that consumption of lobsters at Chinese New Year this year won’t exceed last year’s,” Sackton said.

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After Biden's first year, the virus and disunity rage on China buys lobsters from the U.S. — where the industry is based mostly in Maine — and Canada, where the industry is situated in the Atlantic provinces. Exports from Canada were up even more than the U.S. the first 11 months of 2021 compared to 2020, said John Sackton, an industry analyst and founder of SeafoodNews.com. Signs point to a strong season for the industry, Sackton said. Consumption of seafood could also get a boost from the Beijing Winter Olympics, which are set to start a few days after Chinese New Year, he said. “I’ve seen nothing that consumption of lobsters at Chinese New Year this year won’t exceed last year’s,” Sackton said. The U.S. lobster industry weathered similar challenges during the first year of the pandemic in 2020 and ultimately had a strong export season. The value of exports was down from the record year of 2018, but still well over $100 million. High prices for lobsters have played a role in the value of this year’s exports. The price of a live 1.25-pound hard shell lobster was $11.25 per pound in New England this month, according to business publishing company Urner Barry. That was more than a third higher than January 2021. To send lobsters to China, American and Canadian fishermen have to trap them in the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Bad weather has made that difficult for Maine fishermen this year, but harvesters are still having a decent winter on the water, said Kristan Porter, president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. “When guys get out there, they are doing OK,” Porter said. “It takes someone hardier than me to fish the wintertime.” AP NEWS