P.E.I. looks to Japan for seafood exports

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An Island lobster boat heads out to set traps.

There’s growing potential for P.E.I. seafood in the Japanese market, says Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development Minister Ron MacKinley.

He says a  recent visit by the Canadian trade commissioner for Japan provided an opportunity to promote the high quality and value of P.E.I. seafood products.

The trade commissioner, Mayumi Nakamura, is responsible for meat, fish and seafood exports to Japan. She was in Prince Edward Island as part of a tour of Atlantic Canada. She met with seafood processors, industry representatives, government officials and toured a mussel plant and Canada’s Smart Kitchen. 

MacKinley says seafood exports to Japan from Prince Edward Island are growing steadily, with Japan now the province’s second largest seafood export market by value. It is the fourth largest export market for lobster and the second largest export market for mussels based on volume.

Other seafood exports include bluefin tuna, herring roe and snow crab. The total value of exports in 2012 was approximately $6 million.

MacKinley is confident those numbers can grow. Last November, he led a trade delegation to Asia where they visited the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, one of the largest markets in the world.

Agriculture and Forestry Minister George Webster also attended the meeting. He said there is significant potential to increase exports of agricultural products, such as soybeans, which are already exported to Japan.

“In the past several years, Prince Edward Island has experienced significant progress exporting food grade soybeans to Japan,” he said.  “With newly expanded beef access to Japan, we will continue to pursue further export opportunities for agricultural products.”

Food products account for more than 60 per cent of Prince Edward Island’s exports to international markets.



Geographic location: Japan, Prince Edward Island, Atlantic Canada Asia Tokyo

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Recent comments

  • Matt
    March 25, 2013 - 18:30

    There are camps in Northern Alberta. They are housing and feeding over 50000 people (most are maritimers). They serve seafood minimum once a week to everyone. Send it out west. Oil companies with bottomless pockets and employees that can't wait to have a lobster dinner. Cut the middle man and sell direct to Sysco Canada who is supplying to the oilsands camp companies. No advertising or ridiculous spending in foreign countries needed.

  • six million total seafood export to Japan
    March 25, 2013 - 18:02

    Growing Steadily???? With a total export of six million dollars there is not much room for lobster. Add up all the high priced tuna, the mussels and snow crab and its looks as though lobster sales might maybe add up to a couple of cases. Send Ron anyhow, he is a good ole liberal fella and he needs a free trip so he can continue to crow about all the lobster he is selling. The Minister of Trout. funny eh?

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    March 25, 2013 - 14:19

    Well if the exports are increasing so should the prices fishers are paid for their catches. Does it matter to the fisher if the exports are up but he is making less money? Fishers tell me that is the reality of the situation. What is the federal and provincial governments doing to reduce the costs associated with independent fishers. Rather than associated fishing costs going down they are always going up. What is being done to address these issues? I personally feel guilty for allowing our province to export GMO soy beans to Japan. Europe won't accept them because of a ban on all GMO foods, so I guess Japan will do? But what about the ethics question of selling garbage produce (FRANKEN FOOD) to the Japanese? These questions are not going away, we need answers.

  • DavidMac
    March 25, 2013 - 12:06

    We have unbelievably one of the best connections to these markets living right here on PEI and this government would rather abuse him than use him. Two years ago, 4 Japanese buyers came to PEI from NB on a whim trying to meet the Minister and couldn't even get a gov rep out for a coffee. I don't know how but someone from Japan then put them in contact with Wayne and he went with them to translate down to Maine & NS. WORK TOGETHER FOLKS! There are islanders in Japan who could represent us there rather than sending Ron there simply for another free dinner. Wayne had a restaurant in Japan and from what he told me, two more islanders own restaurants over there.