International Seafood Buyers from 14 Countries Tour New Bedford’s Seafood Facilities

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Kyler’s Catch Seafood Market in New Bedford. Photo courtesy of Food Export – Midwest & Northeast

Seafood buyers from Asia, Europe, and the Middle East visited New Bedford on Friday March 15, 2019 to meet with the area’s leading seafood companies. The annual visit is organized by the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center and the Massachusetts Export Center. The tour was sponsored by Food Export – Northeast, a non-profit export promotion group that promotes northeastern U.S. seafood exports.

Buyers represented fourteen countries, including China, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and Vietnam.

They visited BASE/ New England Seafood Auction, Bergie’s Seafood, Atlantic Capes Fisheries, and East Coast Seafood. The group toured a vessel at the waterfront, and attended a seafood industry luncheon with State and local officials and leaders from the SouthCoast Chamber of Commerce.

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 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.

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, “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,” Adding, “Seafood is one of the most important exports from Massachusetts. We are grateful to all our partners for supporting this effort.”

Colleen Coyne, Seafood Program Coordinator for Food Export-Northeast, said this year’s group includes “19 vetted serious buyers from across the globe who have expressed purchasing interest in fish and shellfish from the area. The buyers learned 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.”

MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux, board member of Food Export USA, said, “I appreciate the opportunity to access USDA funds to support this export market development program.”

SouthCoast Chamber CEO Rick Kidder praised the area, saying, “The fishing industry in New Bedford is second to none in catch, value and quality. 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.”

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell also welcomed the buyers, praising “the large and diverse selection of the freshest seafood available from the Port of New Bedford, America’s top fishing port and the center of commercial fishing on the east coast.”

Port of New Bedford Executive Director Ed Anthes-Washburn, said New Bedford is 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.