Specializing in Oyster Production for Two Generations Spanning Fifty Years, Daeil Fisheries, Co., Ltd.
Delisea, Bringing Fresh Oyster from the Ocean to the Table, Exporting to Japan, China, Spain, and Other Countries
The Tongyeong and Geoje areas in South Gyeongsang Province are known as the filming sites of Winter Sonata, the Korean TV series that sparked the Korean Wave. Both areas are frequently visited by foreign and domestic tourists throughout the year.
For the local residents, the busiest time is when chilly winds start to blow in November. That is the beginning of the oyster harvesting season. Many companies of South Gyeongsang Province specialize in oysters, the so-called “milk of the sea.” One of them is Daeil Fisheries Co., Ltd., located in Hacheong-myeon of Geoje City.
Half a Century of History, a Living Witness of the Development of Korean Oyster Exports
Established in 1963, Daeil Fisheries Co., Ltd., is a producer and exporter of various types of oyster products. Just a small farm cultivating oysters and mussels at that time, it is now the largest producer of oysters in Korea, with an unchallenged position in the field. Vice President of Daeil Fisheries, Lee Young-man (he is also a son of the company’s CEO Lee Jung-tae), said, "When we started, Daeil Fisheries was simply growing oysters from spawn. In 1987, we built a processing factory and installed automatic facilities in order to enter the global market. Today, we have the most advanced processing system in Korea.”
In 1992, the company expanded its manufacturing facilities to produce cold and frozen processed products and canned food. In the same year, it registered its factory with FDA (Food and Drug Administration of the US). Six years later, Daeil Fisheries introduced the HACCP system to secure food safety by installing air showers and devices to prevent foreign substances from entering products. In 1999, the company became the first oyster producer to receive a quality management certificate, ISO9002. The following year, it was registered in the EU as a marine product processing factory. Furthermore, Daeil Fisheries added food safety management systems, ISO22000 and SQF, in 2011 and 2013, respectively.
Success in Diversifying the Export Markets—from Japan to China and to Europe
Daeil Fisheries started exporting oysters in 1992. According to Mr. Lee, the company has been able to steadily increase its exports because it carries out all the steps in the production—from farming and harvesting to processing oysters—in one place. The fact that the company processes oysters grown on its own farms ensures that it has few rivals regarding the freshness of its oysters.
Daeil Fisheries is currently producing fresh oyster, frozen products (oyster, mussel, and manila clam), dried products (oyster and mussel), and canned food (oyster, mussel, and manila clam). Its fresh and frozen products are particularly popular in Japan, while dried and canned products receive praise in China and Europe. Mr. Lee, said, “In order to diversify the export market, which had been focused only on Japan, we started developing new products and installing new facilities. As a result, we began the production of dried and canned products.” He continued, “It’s been a long time since we switched from the Japanese to the Chinese markets. Our products receive positive evaluations in mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, and so on.”
Using China as a stepping stone, Daeil Fisheries has advanced to the US, Mexico, and Europe. Its olive smoked oyster, for example, is an extremely popular ingredient in Spanish restaurants. Mr. Lee explained, “In this product, the taste and scent of shellfish are enriched through an oak charcoal smoking procedure.” It is with such products that the company has been able to expand its markets and win against the competitors who offered lower-priced products.
Delisea Brand to Propel Daeil Fisheries as a Global Shellfish Processing Company
Daeil Fisheries is planning to break further in the global market under its own brand, Delisea. It will also accelerate the development of advanced processed products such as oyster extract and concentrate. Mr. Lee said, “Next year, when the construction of our latest food processing factory is completed, we will be able to export more products. We will take a leading role in the development of processed oyster products and hope to gain recognition for the oyster produced in Korea and by Daeil Fisheries as the best in the world.”
Additional Information / Two delicious oyster dishes made with Delisea
1. Oyster rice
Ingredients: 200g Delisea smoked oyster, rice, daikon, soy sauce, green onion
Place rice in a cast iron pot and spread radish shreds on the top of rice. When the rice starts boiling, add the oyster and reduce the heat, so the oyster is steamed. Make the seasoning by mixing together the rest of the ingredients and add it to the dish.
2. Smoked oyster canape
Ingredients: Delisea smoked oyster, cracker, cucumber
Peel the cucumber and cut into strips 3mm thick. Place the strips on the cracker and top with the smoked oyster. You can make your canapes even prettier and various in flavors by adding various types of fruits and sliced cheese depending on your preferences.
Daeil Fisheries Co., Ltd.