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Developing countries need assistance to consolidate their fish market shares in a manner compatible with environmental protection and national food security objectives and to ensure that fish trade is adequately addressed in international regulatory frameworks.

FAO's works aims to improve access to fish marketing and trade information and capacity of analysts, policy-makers and negotiators of developing countries to identify and effectively pursue trade opportunities. It further promotes the availability, exchange and use of fishery trade information in order to foster increased trade and enhanced food security.

Department's activities focus on:

  • market access and market entry requirements
  • improving domestic fish markets

Support is provided through the deliberative forum (COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade), as well as the global fish marketing network (FishInfoNetwork and Globefish) with its ability to compile, analyse and maintain up-to-date marketing and trade information and provide technical advisory services.

These activities benefit fishers and workers in processing plants and distribution systems; and also foster improved conditions for women, who are often a majority in the fish processing sector. Government trade analysts and policy-makers, the fish industry, trade negotiators and international and regional fisheries organizations also gain from FAO activities.

Market access and market entry requirements

Since the late 1970s, the FISH INFOnetwork has been supplying timely, accurate and unbiased information on international fish markets and fish trade to FAO member countries, governmental agencies, universities, research institutions, private companies and individuals.

The network is coordinated by GLOBEFISH at FAO headquarters in Rome with regional services covering specific geographic areas: INFOPESCA in Latin America and the Caribbean, INFOFISH in Asia and the Pacific Region, INFOPECHE in Africa, INFOSAMAK in the Arab Region, EASTFISH/EUROFISH in East and Central Europe and INFOYU in China.

The regional services offer a number of publications on markets, prices and industry developments. They also undertake studies on behalf of member governments and for the fishery industry. Another important aspect of their work is the organization of international conferences on commodities such as shrimp, tuna, salmon, tilapia and small pelagics.

GLOBEFISH is an integral part of FISH INFOnetwork and contains the GLOBEFISH Databank at its core. Besides performing a coordinating role in the FISH INFOnetwork activities, GLOBEFISH is the FAO unit responsible for analysis and information on international fish trade. GLOBEFISH produces a number of publications including fish price reports (European Fish Price Report), market studies (GLOBEFISH Research Programme) and trend analyses (GLOBEFISH Highlights and Commodity updates). FAO and GLOBEFISH Partners jointly finance GLOBEFISH.

Improving domestic fish marketing

Handling, distribution, and marketing have been identified as problems for fish utilization in developing countries. In many cases the infrastructure of fish distribution is still deficient, quality control of fish products going to the domestic market is less stringent than the one for export quality products.

In order to improve the domestic marketing of fishery products in developing countries, FAO:

  • trains fish technologists and processors in developing countries, to introduce appropriate technologies for reducing fish spoilage (especially for small-scale fisheries);
  • trains fish processors in the fundamentals of quality, use of ice, hygiene, etc.;
  • improves handling practices (especially in small-scale fishing landing sites) and fish preservation methods;
  • improves fish consumption from low-value resources.
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