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10. Indicator of market size in UK

The estimated quantities of imports of smoked fish into the UK, based on interviews for this study, is used as a guide for estimating the size of the current market.

Qualitative data from interviews suggests that from Nigeria alone approximately 5 tonnes of smoked fish per month (60 tonnes per annum) is currently entering the country as airfreight. Most of this is via Gatwick. Imports from Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana could amount to another 5 tonnes per month or 60 tonnes per annum.

Assuming that 200 kg of smoked fish arrives as accompanied baggage on each flight from Nigeria and Ghana (35 direct flights per week), the weekly total arriving this way from those two countries could be in the order of 7 tonnes or approximately 360 tonnes per annum. This is a tentative figure based on qualitative data and there is scope for further investigation to establish a more reliable understanding of the trade.

In addition there is likely to be accompanied baggage fish from other West African countries on direct and in-direct flights. And there are also imports from France, with at least one importer bringing fish into London from Paris by road.

Table 3. Estimated annual imports of smoked fish from West Africa into the UK

Type of imports


Formally recorded under EC Commodity Code 030549 80 “Other smoked fish including fillets”


Formal imports otherwise recorded (estimate)


Accompanied baggage (estimate)






Based on these figures the total quantity of smoked fish imported into the UK is in the region of 500 tonnes per annum. This seems a realistic figure based on the understanding gained from research for this study. Although the figures require validating, especially those for accompanied baggage. At an average retail price of £15/kg the retail value of such a quantity of fish in London would be £7.5 million/annum.

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