China Fisheries & Seafood Expo was created in 1996 as a joint venture with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Unit (CCPIT-SSA), the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Sea Fare Expositions, Inc., a privately held company based in Seattle, Washington which has been organizing trade expositions for the seafood industry since 1984. As the Overseas Organizer, Sea Fare Expositions is responsible for recruiting exhibitors and visitors from outside China to attend the show.

In 2005, Sea Fare Expositions created a wholly-owned foreign subsidiary in Beijing, Sea Fare (China) Ltd. to increase both visitor and exhibitor participation among both Chinese and overseas companies with offices in China. Both the General Manager and Sales Manager of Sea Fare (China) have worked at the Ministry of Agriculture and are responsible for organizing Chinese participation in CFSE. Since the opening of Sea Fare (China), both Chinese and overseas participation has increased significantly.

Qingdao was selected as the site for the first China Fisheries & Seafood Expo in 1996 due to its large and growing base of both primary and secondary processors as well as seafood importers. The first show was held in a small convention center with approximately 250 exhibiting companies, about 60% of which were from China. At the time, China had just begun importing seafood in significant quantities due to a temporary policy that allowed Chinese companies fishing overseas to import seafood duty free.

As China’s international seafood trade grew from US$4.2 billion in 1996 to US$20.4 billion by 2010, CFSE grew as well to become the second largest seafood exposition in the world. In 1997 the show had already outgrown the original convention center and was moved to the Ministry of Agriculture’s Exhibition Hall in Beijing to accommodate the 300 companies exhibiting at the show in its second year. In 1998 the show hosted 350 exhibitors and was moved again to the city of Dalian into a new convention center built by the city. Like Qingdao, Dalian has a large seafood processing and importing sector. CFSE was moved again for the 1999 show, this time to Shanghai to encourage more participation by Chinese producers and buyers.

By 2001, Qingdao had built a new, modern convention center and the show returned to its original city for the 2001 and 2002 seasons before moving to Guangzhou for a time. It was then decided to rotate the show between Qingdao and Dalian, the latter city having built a much larger convention center that could allow CFSE to continue its growth. Qingdao, meanwhile, expanded their convention center in 2008, which accommodated continued growth for a time.

In 2015, China Fisheries & Seafood Expo moved into its current home at the Qingdao International Expo Center north of downtown Qingdao. With impressive architecture, modern amenities and a capacity to hold 6,000 standard-sized booths in 10 exhibit halls, QIEC is one of the largest and most modern exhibit halls in China and has sufficient room for the show to continue its impressive growth.