China decision will hurt ‘red fish’ trade


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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George Davenport (fv Iona) said the China decision will have a considerable impact on the live 'red fish' trade. Image: Supplied.
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A 39-year local veteran of trout fishing, George Davenport, has had his ups and downs, but a recent decision by China to end a 20-year trading relationship is his most significant setback.

The industry was thrown into crisis mode when it was announced that Queensland's multi-million-dollar coral trout fishery would be in jeopardy after the country's biggest live-fish exporter failed to have its export licence renewed in China.

The lucrative live 'red fish' trade is the latest casualty of simmering tensions between the Australian and Chinese governments, which has already claimed wine, barley and rock lobster exports, the ABC reported.

“Australian Reef Fish Traders (ARFT) — which last year accounted for 70 per cent of all live exports — said it could not explain the decision to end a 20-year trading relationship.

“ARFT CEO Barry Dun said the ‘serious disruption’ came off the back of sending a record monthly consignment of 42 tonnes of live fish to China in December, which had the company gearing up for increased trade,” the report said. There has been no explanation from China.

Davenport said he was disappointed adding it would have an adverse impact.

“But from a domestic point of view, we will continue to serve the locals and I hope they will continue to support us as they have done over the years. 

“However, there is no questioning the benefits of serving local and overseas markets,” he said.

Industry leaders have already said they will try to sell more to domestic markets.

In 2005, China was the sixth largest importer of fish and fish products in the world, with imports totalling US$4.0 billion (5.1 billion Australian dollars).

Redfish is a common name for several species of fish. It is most commonly applied to certain deep-sea rockfish or the reef dwelling snappers.

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