Addressing a panel at the recent Global Seafood Marketing Conference, Sandro Coglitore, managing director of Omarsa, one of Ecuador’s largest shrimp exporters, said the sudden reversal of China’s zero-Covid policy has altered the dynamics in the world’s largest seafood market.

“Since China has dramatically reversed the policy in the past three weeks, we have 1.4 billion consumers that were told for the past three years that if they touched imported seafood, imported shrimp, they would get COVID,” said Coglitore. “They shut down plants, they suspended packers, it was a mess to ship to China. Then, that has all changed these past three weeks.”

“There are no more COVID controls. So, buyers that were afraid of importing because of having the containers held up months at the port or having to return them; that fear is gone,” he said. “Imported seafood now can be distributed risk-free all through China.

With the re-opening happening so close to Chinese New Year, inventories will be cleared out by the end of January, he said. “Then, they will have to build up again. I mean, even with all the controls, they kept buying. I think it will be a very good year for sales to China.”