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September 2, 2011 | last updated December 1, 2011 3:17 pm

Seafood cos. depart on Asian trade mission

Four Maine seafood companies departed today for a week-long trade mission to southeast Asia, led by the Maine International Trade Center in conjunction with Food Export U.S.A.

Cozy Harbor Seafood in Portland, Shucks Maine Lobster in Richmond, The Lobster Co. in Kennebunkport and Little Bay Lobster Co. in Stonington will first head to mainland China, then arrive in Hong Kong for the Asian Seafood Exposition, according to a press release. The exposition last year attracted more than 100 retail, food service and distribution companies as well as more than 5,000 buyers from 61 countries. The Maine delegates will have one-on-one meetings with importers and distributors, tour local seafood markets, highlight their products through chef demonstrations, as well as exhibit in the U.S. Pavilion. MITC President Janine Bisaillon-Cary said Maine's delegation will be the largest of the New England states.

Seafood is Maine's fourth largest export industry, representing more than $287 million in exports annually. Major Asian markets for Maine seafood include China, South Korea, Japan and Singapore, and popular products are live and frozen lobster, fresh and frozen fish, shrimp, scallops and eels.

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