Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


Table 4. China: Imports of sea cucumber, frozen/dried/salted/in brine, 1999-2001 (Q=tonnes; V=US$'000).


Country

1999

2000

2001

Q

V

Q

V

Q

V

Russia

0.5

7 500

0.85

8 500

1.20

6 000

Ecuador

0.09

525

-

-

1.16

11 258

Philippines

28.8

23 599

45.02

348 241

791.48

489 250

Korea, Rep.

0.06

1 300

12.34

76 766

21.10

107 840

Papua New Guinea

-

-

-

-

0.62

4 992

Canada

14.63

22 107

-

-

17.54

41 385

Madagascar

7.19

13 793

10.58

24 031

0.94

2 560

USA

9.47

10 293

27.17

65 397

6.41

40 276

South Africa

-

-

-

-

1.08

1 642

Japan

14.28

19 795

-

-

0.02

1 023

Thailand

-

-

-

-

55.91

18 780

Hong Kong (China)

50.19

154 001

13.76

54 509

13.50

11 369

Indonesia

9.12

4 766

44.06

84 846

1 146.41

488 502

Chile

-

-

-

-

1.20

720

Total

139.15

265 306

186.24

793 045

2 059.05

1 229 799

Source: Bureau of Fisheries, China PR.

China Hong Kong SAR

This Special Administrative Region of China is regarded as the largest importer of sea cucumber in the international market. The market is dominated by imports of dried tropical sea cucumber of all varieties. However, a small quantity of air-freight chilled, skinless sea cucumbers are also imported from New Zealand for specialty restaurants in China Hong Kong SAR and the southern provinces of China PR. The cold water species are imported from the USA and Canada in gutted frozen form for the up markets in the mainland.

Imports of sea cucumbers declined by almost 50 % in 2000 compared to the mid 1990s. The import market has stabilized at a volume of about 4 000 tonnes per annum during the last 6 years. However, supplies declined in 1998 and 1999 due to the economic recession that engulfed Southeast Asia and the Far East in the late 1990s.

In 2002, imports recovered to 4 417 tonnes at a value of HK$ 440 million (US$ 56 million) (Table 5A).

The main suppliers were Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, PNG, the Solomon Islands, Madagascar and Australia. For the last few years, supplies have been dwindling from regular sources except from Indonesia. New supplies from Africa and the Middle East have entered the market. However, the quantity is not sufficient to offset the lower exports from the other sources.

A survey indicated that the domestic market in China Hong Kong SAR absorbs about 500-700 tonnes of dried sea cucumber annually. While the population growth in the territory has remained static over the years, there have not been many changes in local consumption patterns. In general, sea cucumber is perceived as an expensive product. Day to day consumption is limited to the middle-aged group, festival celebration (Chinese New Year), wedding dinners, banquets, etc. Hence, demand fluctuates according to the age group and most of all by disposable income. The market preference is similar to the mainland. Consumers in China Hong Kong SAR prefer large and medium sized dried skin-on calcium coated sandfish and teatfish, which are the high value species.

However, for China Hong Kong SAR traders the main attraction is the expanding mainland market. In 2002, China Hong Kong SAR re-exported nearly 3 000 tonnes of sea cucumber, which was 67 % of the total imports in that year.

Table 5A. China Hong Kong SAR: Imports of beche-de-mer (dried, salted or in brine), 1997 -June 2003 (Q=tonnes; V=HK$ '000).

Countries


1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

Jan-Jun 2003

USA

Q

41

44

114

182

90

155

88

V

3 307

3 242

6 032

10 473

5 439

10 318

5 790

Canada

Q

18

20

5

3

59

18

13

V

2 337

2 911

660

80

3 332

1 373

630

United Arab Emirates

Q

21

-

-

11

0.2

21

1

V

600

-

-

1 393

13

1 585

0

Yemen

Q

-

-

3

-

3

113

71

V

-

-

256

-

332

11 497

3 831

Taiwan

Q

22

71

41

40

57

119

34

V

2 024

5 300

6 255

7 695

17 705

29 485

9 447

Indonesia

Q

1 097

961

757

1 007

1 060

1 008

429

V

484 424

42 073

31 207

40 907

34 084

31 986

13 467

Philippines

Q

165

467

591

1 070

737

775

268

V

18 931

18 855

31 608

63 751

39 400

39 004

15 109

Korea, Rep.

Q

2

2

-

3

-

1

12

V

232

369

-

273

-

211

782

Japan

Q

29

53

55

75

103

127

94

V

23 321

41 386

53 593

81 230

90 771

131 763

121 827

China PR

Q

27

77

30

13

12

27

22

V

1 314

214

1 830

2 074

778

1 218

837

Viet Nam

Q

56

47

34

1

3

1

4

V

2 516

2 904

957

215

950

142

448

Maldives

Q

117

23

4

39

29

38

25

V

6 085

1 296

229

2 345

1 626

1 080

1 080

Sri Lanka

Q

76

52

19

65

33

50

49

V

8 982

4 616

1 838

3 732

1 894

2 918

2 441

India

Q

-

1

2

1

4

2

-

V

-

396

523

114

807

356

-

Malaysia

Q

22

60

19

59

66

124

69

V

1 452

3 090

1 382

3 939

3 677

8 982

5 267

Singapore

Q

479

349

212

345

335

364

149

V

33 471

22 834

15 872

24 005

24 925

28 305

7 969

Mozambique

Q

82

25

1

0

1

37

33

V

1 932

204

76

40

220

3 307

2 558

Madagascar

Q

204

216

154

178

179

169

122

V

28 400

22 080

18 084

17 745

15 497

9 946

4 837

South Africa

Q

47

49

21

28

29

53

34

V

2 303

4 151

1 085

2 188

969

1 035

584

Kenya

Q

-

-

2

52

39

20

9

V

-

-

148

3 377

1 407

1 873

2 447

Mauritius

Q

-

-

-

3

-

6

1 716

V

-

-

-

271

-

1 408

339

Tanzania

Q

182

72

31

115

56

92

40

V

10 853

4 781

5 237

8 708

4 676

5 462

1 613

US Oceania

Q

29

20

12

18

41

-

-

V

2 680

2 463

1 789

1 935

-

-

-

Australia & Oceania

Q

70

39

32

14

22

17

12

V

11 776

6 769

5 737

2 735

3 703

3 383

2 539

Kiribati

Q

4

3

4

9

14

9

1

V

104

264

522

683

1 005

883

192

Tonga

Q

12

-

-

-

-

-

-

V

1 705

-

-

-

-

-

-

Western Samoa

Q

11

4

6

-

-

-

-

V

1 045

833

533

-

-

-

-

Australia

Q

63

73

118

139

187

139

59

V

13 008

16 870

23 615

42 061

40 910

32 792

19 154

Solomon Islands

Q

122

252

50

144

260

249

141

V

6 897

12 779

2 641

7 325

14 896

12 027

4 846

Fiji

Q

528

291

166

364

276

162

86

V

26 232

23 956

14 523

28 149

21 770

12 659

4 973

New Zealand

Q

15

8

1

11

31

16

3

V

1 333

469

186

2 227

3 998

1 241

192

Vanuatu

Q

35

25

8

28

16

8

1

V

1 038

1 116

286

1 315

888

401

44

Papua New Guinea

Q

453

613

336

532

493

368

212

V

33 215

52 684

27 201

45 655

37 405

38 097

23 711

Total
(incl. minor exporters)

Q

4 523

3 975

2 922

4 759

4 382

4 417

2 222

V

295 341

306 442

260 425

432 665

393 297

439 628

270 499

Source: Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Dept., China Hong Kong SAR.

China was the largest outlet (72 %); all types of sea cucumber are exported to the China PR market mainly by road and also by sea depending on the destination. The other markets are Taiwan PC, the USA and some other niche markets (Table 5B).

Table 5B. Hong Kong: Re-export of beche-de-mer (dried/salted/in brine), 1997 -June 2003 (Q=tonnes; V=HK$'000).

Country


1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

Jan-Jun 2003

USA

Q
V

21
2 938

17
2 544

23
2 880

38
2 750

106
6 409

48
3 657

Canada

Q
V

27
3 779

16
2 722

13
2 717

27
3 395

14
3 906

8
1 232

France

Q
V

-

0.001
-

-
-

0.001
28

-
-

-
-

United Kingdom

Q
V

-
-

-
-

-
-

-
-

-
-

-
-

Taiwan PC

Q
V

224
20 797

158
15 479

209
25 164

117
9 927

152
16 662

39
4 488

Indonesia

Q
V

-
-

10
236

0.1
13

-
-

-
-

-
-

Korea Rep

Q
V

50
4616

50
4 780

82
7 102

62
4 294

36
2 703

10
644

Thailand

Q
V

-
-

31
5 265

30
6 005

40
6 555

40
7 656

8
2 000

Japan

Q
V

1
302

0.1
46

1
711

1
325

1
213

0.2
92

China PR

Q
V

2 780
97 438

2 268
78 159

3 771
176 034

3 543
141 171

2 127
73 903

938
25 544

Malaysia

Q
V

9
714

22
2 550

21
2 866

6
667

6
1 046

1
78

Singapore

Q
V

37
5 769

81
12 293

70
9 854

28
6 122

19
4 253

10
2 664

Australia

Q
V

1
277

3
288

1
79

2
359

2
203

2
129

Total

Q
V

3 174
139 691

2 658
125 099

4 221
233 885

3 867
176 792

2 944
130 575

1 305
49 288

Source: Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Dept., China Hong Kong SAR.

As direct imports to China PR are subject to high import duty and rather complicated procedures, exporters from other countries prefer to supply to China Hong Kong SAR traders. The territory still retains the status of a duty free port for imported products.

Taiwan PC

Demand for high value fish and fishery products is relatively high in Taiwan PC. This is related to high per capita income and the traditional influence of the Fijian and Teochew provinces - the origins of the Taiwanese. Household consumption of processed sea cucumber is high in Taiwan PC although the species are not popular with highlanders.

Traditionally the Taiwanese market has a preference for various kinds of spiky sea cucumber which are both tropical and coldwater species. The coldwater prickly redfish are imported from Alaska (USA) and Canada in frozen form. Taiwan PC also imports frozen sea cucumber from Peru which are processed into dried products for the domestic market. Demand for high value sandfish is rather limited, but is increasing slowly through supplies from China Hong Kong SAR.

Consumption of sea cucumber was low during the economic recession in 1998-2000. However, imports have recovered since 2001 and totalled 1015 tonnes in 2002 against 624 tonnes in 2001. Nearly 28 % of these were frozen products imported from coldwater sources (Table 6). Imports of tropical species are from India, Indonesia, the Philippines and from mainland China PR.

Table 6. Taiwan: Imports ofbeche-de-mer, 1997-2002 (Q=tonnes; V=NT$'000).

Year

Products

Spiky species

Other species

Total

Q

V

Q

V

Q

V

1997

Frozen

-

-

348

47 762

348

47 762

Dried

39

19 675

658

90 039

697

109 714

Salted/in brine

-

-

14

1 562

14

1 562

Total

39

19 675

1 020

139 449

1 059

159 124

1998

Frozen

-

-

274

42 812

274

42 812

Dried

41

25 763

530

81 581

371

107 344

Salted/in brine

-

-

1

163

1

163

Total

41

23 763

805

124 572

846

150 335

1999

Frozen

-

-

299

43 343

299

43 343

Dried

37

25 033

508

75 592

545

100 625

Salted/in brine

-

-

54

4 535

54

4 535

Total

37

25 033

862

123 489

899

148 522

2000

Frozen

-

-

295

44 594

295

44 594

Dried

32

23 126

517

68 406

549

91 532

Salted/in brine

-

-

44

4 507

44

4 507

Total

32

23 126

855

117 507

887

140 633

2001

Frozen

-

-

198

35 483

198

35 483

Dried

20

16 089

426

62 237

446

78 326

Salted/in brine

-

-

-

-

32

3 736

Total

20

16 089

624

97 720

676

117 545

2002

Frozen

-

-

208

38 429

208

38 429

Dried

12

10 468

733

89 047

745

99 515

Salted/in brine

-

-

62

9 599

62

9 599

Total

12

10 468

1 002

137 075

1 015

147 543

Source: Fisheries Statistical Year Book, Taiwan PC.

Import duty on sea cucumber is high in Taiwan PC. The tariffs also differ according to the species, ranging from 20-40 % on the invoice value. The spiky varieties enjoy lower tariffs compared to the other species. Import duty on frozen products is also lower than that of dried/salted products.

Unlike China Hong Kong SAR, the market in Taiwan PC is dominated by a few importers. The market also demands high quality products.

Singapore

In this trading nation where production of sea cucumber is nil, it is a preferred seafood delicacy of the highest order, a positioned shared with dried shark fins. However, sea cucumber is an expensive seafood thus follows the demand pattern dictated by the consumer's disposable income.

A large share of imports is re-exported to other destinations from Singapore. Imports fluctuated from 820 tonnes in 1997 to 629 tonnes in 2000 due to the economic recession in the region. China Hong Kong SAR was the main

supplier. The other exporters to this market were India, Yemen, the USA and South Pacific island countries. During the late 1990s, imports increased from Madagascar and Tanzania consisting of cheaper quality sandfish and some white teatfish. The best quality products come from Australia and the other Pacific sources. Imports also take place from Indonesia, but these are not reflected in the official statistics (Tables 7A and 7B).

Table 7A. Singapore: Imports ofbeche-de-mer (dried/salted/in brine), 1997-2000 (Q=tonnes; V=S$'000).

Country

1997

1998

1999

2000

Q

V

Q

V

Q

V

Q

V

Australia

12

NA

7

585

14

1 185

4

337

New Zealand

5

NA

13

820

12

1 428

19

1 047

China PR

13

NA

21

1 437

4

385

5

853

Taiwan

86

NA

75

3 852

16

865

27

1 340

Hong Kong (China)

201

NA

73

7 374

93

9 972

104

12 964

India

97

NA

58

3 332

43

2 837

82

6 732

Sri Lanka

36

NA

30

2 282

18

1 203

15

2 388

Malaysia

2

NA

5

111

5

317

3

296

Myanmar

1

NA

1

83

-

-

-

-

Viet Nam

-

-

-

-

3

317

1

162

Fiji

-

-

-

-

20

890

-

-

Maldives

23

NA

18

2 139

11

974

10

1 644

Papua New Guinea

-

-

2

80

1

70

1

129

Solomon Islands

4

NA

-

-

-

82

-

-

Mauritius

5

NA

4

224

4

170

-

-

Kenya

7

NA

6

275

2

76

-

-

Madagascar

-

-

-

-

10

137

5

349

United Arab Emirates

9

NA

1

71

5

288

7

369

Yemen

2

NA

9

430

23

506

21

382

USA

-

-

3

82

57

2 255

49

2 751

Oceania

-

-

12

443

101

3 840

122

6 218

Total (incl. others)

820

-

538

32 448

692

37 221

629

48 145

Source: National Statistics, Singapore.

Table 7B. Singapore: Exports ofbeche-de-mer (dried/salted/in brine), 1997-2000 (Q=tonnes; V=S$'000).

Country

1997

1998

1999

2000

Q

V

Q

V

Q

V

Q

V

Hong Kong (China)

502

-

236

3 543

161

3 111

295

4 351

Malaysia

255

-

146

3 943

238

6 247

214

7 143

Taiwan PC

116

-

81

3 359

132

6 146

138

5 236

Thailand

19

-

20

586

8

177

17

345

USA

-

-

2

139

1

87

2

111

Brunei

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Total (incl. others)

895

-

542

12 251

586

16 530

723

18 356

Source: National Statistics, Singapore.

Although the market demands high value products, the small population in Singapore (2.3 million) is not able to support the total import. Thus the lion's share gets re-exported to China Hong Kong SAR, Malaysia, Taiwan PC and Thailand. The ASEAN Free Trade Agreement also allows re-exports to the ASEAN member countries (Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar). While exports to Malaysia consist of medium grade sandfish of different sizes and a small quantity of teatfish, high quality products are exported to Taiwan PC.

Domestic consumption of sea cucumber in Singapore has been low during the last few years. The economic recession since 1998 coupled with the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) problem in 2002-2003 have affected the domestic consumption of seafood in general.


Previous Page Top of Page Next Page