Colorful Lobsters

The P.E.I. Fishermen's Association will ship 2.5 million pounds of lobster to the Chinese company Lanesync under the Fishermen's Brand label over the next three years. (The Associated Press)

The P.E.I. Fishermen's Association has signed a $17-million, three-year deal to sell lobster to a restaurant supply company in China.

Acting association president Craig Avery said 2.5 million pounds (1.1 million kg) of raw, blanched lobster will be exported to Lanesync Supply Chain over three years. Lanesync is just getting into the lobster business, said Avery.

"For one company, that's a very significant purchase,” said Avery, pointing out that the annual catch on P.E.I. is about 30 million pounds (13.6 million kg).

This is the largest contract the association has signed so far under the Fishermen's Brand, a new Island fair trade lobster brand that will be officially launched after the current trade mission to China.

“We're looking for companies that are looking for a fair trade so that fishermen get a good price, and processors can make money, and consumers get a good value product,” said Avery.

Avery said a letter of intent to work toward a deal with another Chinese company, Allin-Pay, was signed Friday morning. Allin-Pay supplies high-end gifts for institutions, including banks.

Deals were signed earlier this fall under the Fishermen's Brand to ship to France and Belgium.

Chinese online retailer sets goal for lobster sales

In an unrelated initiative, a major Chinese online retailer has set a target to sell 200,000 Canadian lobster on Nov. 11.

Alibaba, which says it attracts 120 million shoppers a day, and has been called Asia's answer to Amazon, is looking to sell lobster to China's growing middle class.

The P.E.I. Fishermen's Association says while the Alibaba announcement is unrelated, representatives of the group will meet Alibaba company officials on Saturday.

with files from Canadian Press