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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, July 31) - Fiji’s exports of fresh and frozen fish to the United States of America (USA) achieved an all time monthly record in May, when it passed the US$1 million (FJ$1.6 million) mark for the first time, to US$1.056 million (FJ$1.7 million). This represented a 166 percent or US$660,000 (FJ$1 million) increase over May 2006, and a 6 percent growth over April 2007, says the Ministry of Information.

Trade and Marketing Officer at the Fiji Trade Commission in Los Angeles, Colin King said, "We have been pushing hard to open up new markets and expand existing ones for fresh and frozen fish in the USA and we are pleased to note the good results achieved by this export industry."

"In fact, this export product performed extremely well in the first five months of 2007, averaging a growth rate of 32 percent per month and surpassing all records for the same period in the last five years," he added. He said this category of export included fresh or chilled reef fish, frozen deep sea fish, dried and smoked fish, vacuum packed fillets and live fish.

This growth demonstrates the high and growing demand for Fiji fish not only by former Fiji residents, but also by small US restaurants. However, the challenge faced by this export commodity is the ability of Fiji exporters to maintain consistent and sustainable supplies to meet the high demand in the USA," Mr. King said.

Trade Commissioner Ilisoni Vuidreketi said their export promotion strategy is to develop a selected few industries that have high growth potential like fish and agro-produce.

"We are delighted to see the steady growth of fresh fish, one of our important resource based export industries, and we forecast that it will set a new annual record this year," Mr. Vuidreketi said.

Fijis top three exports to the USA are tuna loins, Fiji Water and sugar. Fresh and frozen fish has now moved up, surpassing timber, to become the number four export to the USA.

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