Pertes et gaspillages de nourriture dans les chaînes de valeur de la pêche et de l’aquaculture
©FAO/Ansen Ward


Wholesale fish markets can be classified as secondary or terminal.

Secondary wholesale markets tend to be located in districts or regional cities and take the bulk of their produce from local capture fisheries or aquaculture producers. Transactions are small-scale and usually take place between producers and traders.

Terminal wholesale markets are located in major cities, where fish and fish products are channeled to consumers, restaurants and hotels through trade between wholesalers and retailers. Product may also be assembled for export. The traders tend to be well-organized and a commodity exchange may exist for forward trading. A variant on terminal markets are those that can be located at major ports or at a border between countries, and deal with fish imports as well as locally produced fish.

Wholesale fish markets deal with a variety of fish and fish products, including fresh, frozen, dried, smoked and live products. Products can come from small-scale fisheries, industrial fisheries and aquaculture. At some markets, the product may simply pass through in a matter of hours. For example, fresh fish landed by fishing vessels at a nearby port in the early morning is sold at the wholesale market later that morning and then moved on to the next stage of the value chain (e.g. processors). At other wholesale markets, products may be stored in bulk in chill, cold stores or appropriate dried fish storage areas for periods of time. Product tends to be bought from wholesalers in bulk for subsequent retail sale.

The key causes of food loss and waste (FLW) during wholesale are:

  • quality deterioration changes during chill or cold storage. If quality deterioration is severe then product maybe discarded and constitute a food waste
  • insect infestation (Dermestes spp, Necorbia spp) of processed products
  • attack by animal pests such as rats, or mold growth of processed products
  • physical damage due to poor handling of processed products
  • oxidation of fats in frozen, dried, or smoked products, which brings about color and taste changes (e.g. rancidity). Oxidation is also associated with nutrient loss

Loss Scenarios

Landing Sites in Small Scale Fisheries

Fish landing centers or sites are associated with small-scale marine and inland fisheries and provide a location for first point of sale.   

Urban Wholesale

Urban wholesale markets provide a location for the sale of fish and fishery products. These markets are found in coastal and inland centers near to or far from sources of fish supply.