City Hopes Scallops Will Hook Buyers

City Hopes Scallops Will Hook Buyers
‘Aggressive’ Campaign to Market Seafood Overseas
By Becky W. Evans, Standard-Times Staff Writer

The world could be New Bedford’s oyster. Or at least provide a wider market for its scallops.
That’s what economic officials are hoping as they explore ways to better promote the port’s fresh and frozen seafood products to foreign markets.
High demand for scallops in France, Spain, Italy and other countries could create lucrative export opportunities for New Bedford seafood companies and bring economic benefits to the city, said Matthew A. Morrissey, executive director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council.
Mr. Morrissey is courting state and regional business, trade and tourism agencies to help market New Bedford scallops and seafood overseas.
According to Seafood Export USA Northeast, scallops are the largest-growing seafood export in the Northeast. Scallops have put New Bedford on the map as the most valuable fishing port in the country — a title the city has held for the past six years.
In 2005, New Bedford’s seafood landings were valued at $282.5 million, thanks to scallop prices that soared to about $10 per pound. The seafood industry’s impact on the local economy has been estimated at $1.6 billion, about six times the catch value.
During a brainstorming session, Mr. Morrissey met with Tobias Stapleton of the International Trade Assistance Center, Michael P. Sullivan of the Massachusetts Export Center and Kristin Decas, executive director of the New Bedford Harbor Development Commission.
They discussed conducting a study to identify ways to grow the seafood industry, and considered how to increase New Bedford’s presence at upcoming seafood shows in Boston and Brussels.
The group decided the next step must be to gather industry input and research what other states and regions are doing to promote their own seafood products.
New Bedford Mayor Scott W. Lang called during the meeting to voice his support for promoting New Bedford seafood worldwide.
“We need to expand our efforts,” he said. “We must be very, very aggressive.”
Mr. Stapleton said he is planning a seminar to educate the industry about the scallop market in France, including the country’s regulations regarding chemical additives. Scallops are considered a luxury in France, where they are served on holidays and special occasions in the same way lobster is consumed in the United States, he said.
The exploratory working group will continue to meet about once every two weeks, Mr. Morrissey said. The group’s findings will be submitted to the mayor for review, he said.
Contact Becky W. Evans at revans@s-t.com
Publication date: April 11, 2007

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