A Cambodian firm intends to export more than 1,000kg of live lobsters to China, after its previous test runs proved the product had garnered “substantial market support”.

Chea Kimlong, a consultant at Tienit International Trading, noted that the firm had completed two pilot exports, with the first batch weighing 45kg and the second 105kg.

Currently, the company has approached the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) to prepare for the next six exports in the near future.

Kimlong said the accomplishment of these exports confirms the lobsters’ natural state and their arrival in the Chinese market in a live condition, and that this product enjoys significant popularity among Chinese consumers.

“The company has requested permission from customs to export approximately 1,000kg. Additionally, on September 25, we are planning to export an additional 105kg. In a typical week, we anticipate exporting around 210kg, which could potentially be done two to three times depending on the amount acquired from suppliers,” he explained on September 24, saying the firm has plans to export various other marine fishery products in the near future.

He noted that there are still some challenges as the company finds it a bit difficult to buy an adequate supply from fishermen to meet market demand.

Im Rachna, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, affirmed that the export of live lobsters, a product from sea fisheries, represents a noteworthy accomplishment as it has now gained official entry into the Chinese market.

She highlighted that lobsters are a natural resource, and the ministry’s Fisheries Administration (FiA) needs to cautiously consider their export to ensure the sustainability of natural products.

“Exports must also take into account the stability of natural resources, and the ministry is committed to ensuring the sustainability of this export and other natural products, without adversely impacting marine resources,” she said.

“According to fisheries experts, no country has succeeded in farming this type of lobster,” she noted.

Regarding lobster exports, Prime Minister Hun Manet, during his September 23 meeting with members of the Cambodians diaspora in the US and Canada, highlighted the export to Chinese markets. He said the initial export of 45kg was considered a pilot project.

“After completing the initial pilot export, our clients expressed a desire for larger orders, as the initial 45kg quantity is insufficient even for a single shop in Phnom Penh. They view it as a trial run, a sample to assess thoroughly before placing larger orders,” he explained.

According to the agricultural ministry, Cambodia has exported a variety of fishery and aquaculture products to China, totalling over 25 tonnes. This includes 14 tonnes of processed trout and 11 tonnes of frozen eels and freshwater shrimp.