Agriculture Press Release

August 28, 2002

Trade delegation from Central Europe to tour Florida seafood companies, Bronson announces

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson today announced that a trade delegation of seafood buyers from four Central European countries will tour seafood companies in Florida next month to enhance contacts and explore export opportunities for Florida seafood products.

Eight seafood buyers from Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic, along with a Foreign Agricultural Service representative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Prague, Czech Republic, will tour seafood companies along the Eastern Seaboard. The U.S. Embassy in Austria coordinated the trade mission in conjunction with government and seafood industry representatives from Maine, Rhode Island and Florida.

On September 12 and 13, the European delegation will tour Kalamar Seafood in Hialeah, Florida’s Finest Seafood in Fort Lauderdale, Empire Seafood in Medley, and Key Largo Fisheries in Key Largo.

"This visit will provide an excellent opportunity for Florida’s wholesalers to showcase the wide variety of quality seafood products available for export," Bronson said. "We’re optimistic that this will be an important step toward expanding markets for Florida seafood in Europe."

Florida exported $78 million in seafood worldwide and $8 million to Europe in 2001, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration.

The European seafood trade delegation’s visit is the most recent effort by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to increase Florida agricultural exports and open markets around the world. In May, Bronson sent a trade delegation to India to help increase sales of Florida food products to that emerging market. Also in May, Bronson sent a Florida trade delegation to China to develop markets for Florida wood products and other agricultural exports. In April, Bronson led a trade delegation to Puerto Rico to negotiate the sale of Florida cattle. Later that month, Bronson hosted a trade delegation from Australia and New Zealand to explore opportunities for exporting Florida Thoroughbreds and equine services.

With restaurant and retail sales of about $1 billion annually and a dockside value of $218 million, Florida ranks in the top 10 seafood producing states. Florida is also home to more seafood processing plants than any other state.

According to the National Fisheries Institute (NFI), American consumers spend almost $50 billion each year on a wide variety of fish and shellfish products. This total includes about $32 billion purchased in food service establishments, and about $17 billion in retail stores. The thousands of firms that produce, process and distribute the fish and shellfish are located throughout the United States, and contribute more than $25 billion to the U.S. gross national product.

In addition to contributing greatly to the state’s economy, Florida seafood also provides health benefits for people of all ages. Each American eats about 14.9 pounds of seafood per year. Fish are cited as low in fat, easily digestible, and a good source of protein by scientific reports and government guides alike. The American Dietetic Association recommends eating two to three meals with seafood per week.

For more information about Florida seafood and aquaculture, or the upcoming trade delegation visit to Florida, contact:
Paul Balthrop
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing
2051 East Dirac Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32310-3760
Telephone: (850) 488-0163
Web: www.fl-seafood.com


For more information:
Paul Balthrop
(850) 488-0163


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