Seafood buyers from Asia, Europe, and the Middle East and are visiting New Bedford on Friday March 15, 2019 to meet with the area’s leading seafood companies. Buyers from fourteen countries will visit BASE/ New England Seafood Auction, Bergie’s Seafood, Atlantic Capes Fisheries, and East Coast Seafood where they will also tour a vessel at the waterfront, then attend a seafood industry luncheon with State and local officials and leaders from the SouthCoast Chamber of Commerce.

Countries represented on the tour include China, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and Vietnam.

The buyers are in Boston for the 2019 Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America, the largest seafood trade event in North America.

Food Export – Northeast, a non-profit export promotion group, is sponsoring the foreign buyer tour specifically to promote northeastern U.S. seafood exports. Food Export USA has also partnered with the Massachusetts Export Center to introduce buyers to local seafood suppliers in New Bedford. Other participants include Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, SouthCoast Chamber of Commerce, and the New Bedford Harbor Development Commission.

The 2019 tour is the 15th annual visit of international seafood buyers to the New Bedford area organized by the Massachusetts Export Center, part of the state’s Small Business Development Center Network. The Center provides a broad range of services to Massachusetts exporters and works closely with the SouthCoast Chamber to promote area exports.

Food Export-Northeast’s annual International Seafood Buyers Mission provides the region’s seafood suppliers with the opportunity to sit down for one-on-one meetings with pre-qualified, business-ready, buyers from throughout the world.

Nancy Lowd of the Massachusetts Export Center said, “It’s exciting that this program is now in its fifteenth year. The international buyers keep coming back because of the world-renowned seafood found in New Bedford. They are here to buy, and they want to go right to the source.” She said “Seafood is one of the most important exports from Massachusetts. We are grateful to all our partners for supporting this effort.”

Seafood Program Coordinator Colleen Coyne, of Food Export-Northeast, said, “During their stay buyers will learn about the variety of fish and shellfish available, they will see how processors produce top quality products, and they will meet one-on-one with seafood suppliers to discuss purchasing.”

The industry remains one of the world’s finest, and when coupled with the strong UMass-Dartmouth maritime research from the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST), New Bedford’s fleets and processing are among the most efficient and productive. Even as the South Coast prepares for a new maritime opportunity, offshore wind, the fishing industry remains our strongest base industry and deserving of our complete support.”

Ed Anthes-Washburn, Executive Director of the Port of New Bedford, said, “As the most valuable commercial fishing port in the nation for the 18th year in a row, New Bedford is also home to 50+ seafood processors. More than a million pounds of seafood enters and exits the port on a daily basis, so it’s always a pleasure to showcase the port to potential international buyers”

Along with Food Export USA Northeast and Massachusetts Export Center, other participants in this year’s seafood tour include the New Bedford Harbor Development Commission and the SouthCoast Chamber of Commerce. The luncheon reception is sponsored by Eastern Bank, Rockland Trust and Bergie’sSeafood. It includes a presentation by Dr. Kevin Stokesbury, Chair of Fisheries Oceanography at the School for Marine Science and Technology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.