Tuna - February 2012


At the end of September 2011 skipjack raw material price from Bangkok reached its highest level. Given the economic situation in Europe and the USA, packers expected customer resistance to high prices.

Papua New Guinea has secured a concessional loan of USD 31.7 million from China to develop the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) in Madang. The country has an ambitious plan to further develop its tuna processing industries in the country.

Peru was granted by IATTC with an additional 5 000 cubic meters of quota capacity for tuna fishing, making a total of 8 195 cubic meters.

Up to the end of August 2011, the total estimated catch of tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean by purse seiners and pole-and line vessels was recorded at 394 057 tonnes, representing an increase around 22% compared with the same period last year.

Japanese sashimi market has improved for reasonably priced products

Consumption of Sashimi has improved in Japan recently although demand for expensive blue fin tuna remains limited to high-end sashimi and sushi restaurants.

For the period January – June, imports of fresh and frozen tuna were 20% lower than last year at 111 941 tonnes. The level of raw fish consumption was very low since March 2011.

Trading of frozen tuna slowed down in the Tsukiji market after the Obon festival. However, prices are showing increases as supplies are down by almost 30% from imported sources compared with last year.

Japanese production of farmed tuna this year will be lower than the earlier forecast of 8 000 tonnes as a result of the damage caused by the typhoon to the farming facilities in Wakayama, Okinawa and Mei. The auction price in Tokyo for locally farmed bluefin increased by 20-25% over last year.

Australian production of farmed tuna may increase to 6 000 tonnes in 2011, mainly if there is good demand in the Japanese market. Supplies of farmed bluefin from Spain and Mexico are forecast to be 20-30% lower than last year.

In the US market, the rising tuna price affected sales and imports of non-canned tuna, supplies dropped by 8% during the first half of 2011. The price of imports went up by 10-20%. Imports of the popular frozen tuna loins also declined from 10 534 tonnes in 2010 to 8 986 tonnes in January-June. The average import price of frozen loins also increased by 5-8% compared with last year.

Canned tuna


According to AC Nielsen data, sales of canned tuna from May 2010 to June 2011 were fractionally up at 33.6 million cases (33 million in 2010). For the first half of 2011 canned tuna imports into the USA declined slightly by 2.8% in quantity, but increased by 12.4% in value year on year, totaling 112 279 tonnes valued at USD 394.7 million.

Imports from Thailand, the largest supplier, declined by 9.7% and from Indonesia dropped by 23.6% in quantity, while imports from the Philippines, Viet Nam and Ecuador increased by 16.6%, 4.0% and 14.2% in that order during the reporting period.


The Eurozone debt crisis seems to have had modest impact on the canned tuna trade into the EU as imports have been higher so far this year compared with 2010. For the first semester 2011, canned tuna imports into the EU-27 from third countries increased by 6.1% in quantity and 21.3% in value year on year, amounting to 172 188 tonnes valued at EUR 535.2 million (USD 753 million). Ecuador remained the top supplier of canned tuna into the EU, but this year it shipped 9% less, while imports from Thailand, the second largest supplier, increased remarkably by 23.4% in quantity during the reporting period. Imports from Mauritius and the Seychelles, the third and fourth largest suppliers also posted positive growths by 8.7% and 22.7% respectively in 2011.

In the main EU markets, canned tuna imports also increased except in the UK where imports were 3.4%lower during the first six month of this year, totaling 59 500 tonnes.



Thai canned tuna exports posted positive growth during the first half of 2011. Up to June, canned tuna exports totaled 277 800 tonnes valued at USD 981 million, marginally up by 1.3% in volume but significantly higher by 12.2% compared with the same period of 2010. Exports to the main market USA dropped by 10.9% in volume and also dropped in some Middle East countries because of the political unrest. But exports increased significantly to other markets like Canada (+17.4%), Australia (+14.1%), Japan (+26.8%) and the UK (+158%).


Demand for canned tuna in Japan posted significant growth for the first half of the year as a result of the March earthquake and tsunami. For the period of January-June, 2011 canned tuna imports were up by 11.6% in quantity and 12.8% in value compared with the same period of 2010.

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