World trade in fish and fisheries products in 2023 is estimated at 65 million tonnes, a 4.3 percent decline over 2022 levels. Similarly, the global export value of aquatic products dropped to USD 175 billion, compared to USD 178 billion in 2022.

Exports of fishery products (in million USD)











20 003

20 408

21 544

20 082

18 487

21 100

22 350

19 800


10 563

11 119

11 757

11 719

10 770

13 400

15 900

16 000


3 754

4 468

4 805

5 450

5 359

6 800

8 100

9 100


4 709

5 606

6 261

6 136

5 318

6 800

7 200

8 600

Viet Nam

7 400

7 700

8 900

9 200

8 700

9 800

10 000

7 800


5 517

7 069

6 786

6 761

5 736

7 300

7 700

7 700


5 007

5 310

5 382

5 644

4 833

6 200

6 600

5 700


73 310

79 681

84 817

82 111

76 786

101 900

100 250

100 400


130 263

141 361

150 252

147 103

135 989

173 300

178 100

175 100

Source: Global Trade Tracker and estimates by author.

The contraction in trade of fishery products in 2023 was mainly due to lower exports from China, which nevertheless continued to be the main fish exporting country. Total Chinese exports were valued at USD 19.8 billion in 2023, as compared to USD 22.3 billion in 2022. The main reason for this drop was the fact that less Alaska pollack was available for processing in the first half of 2023, alongside strong domestic demand which had diverted supplies to the local market.

Norway remained the second major exporter of edible fish, mainly cultured Atlantic salmon; this country reported stable exports in 2023, valued at USD 16 billion.  Ecuador jumped to the third position in the ranking of seafood exporting nations, exclusively due to high shrimp exports. Ecuadorian exports of seafood in 2023 were worth USD 9.1 billion, a noteworthy USD 1 billion more than in 2022. 



On 14 February 2024, the representatives of European Commission (EC) Member States approved the agreement on revised fisheries measures in the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) area. The text of the agreement can be accessed at this link. 

The NEAFC is the regional fisheries management organization that oversees the management of fisheries resources outlined in the “Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the North-East Atlantic.” The measures enacted by the NEAFC hold binding authority over its contracting parties, such as the European Union, unless objections are raised. 

Upon formal adoption, the regulation would incorporate new guidelines for the management, conservation, and control of the NEAFC region into EC law.  An advantage is that all NEAFC measures, which are currently governed by diverse regulations, will be consolidated into a single regulation. Additionally, it will enforce control measures for specific pelagic species in the North-East Atlantic that had been decided upon during consultations with coastal States. 

Specifically, some of the new measures, among others, include: 


  • Extending the ban on bottom-fishing in certain areas until the end of 2027 to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) such as deep-sea corals and sponges;
  • Addition of 22 species to the list of species for which discarding catches are prohibited such as cod, common sole and plaice;
  • New regulations for managing transhipment activities at sea, disposing of wastes from vessels, and retrieval of lost gear; and
  • Implementation of specific control measures for four pelagic fisheries in the North-East Atlantic: horse mackerel, mackerel, blue whiting, and herring. One of these measures mandates the deployment of camera and sensor technology at landing and processing facilities when a landing surpasses 10 tonnes or when the annual weigh-in of pelagic species exceeds 3 000 tonnes.

Ahead of its formal adoption by the European Council and the Parliament, the text of the agreement will undergo a comprehensive legal and linguistic assessment to ensure accuracy and compliance. Subsequently, the agreement will then enter into force.

#EC # NEAFC #sustainability #fisheries


COFI Declaration for Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture

Celebrating the FAO Code of Conduct, Acknowledging the Achievements and Securing a Sustainable Future

In February 2021, FAO country members endorsed the COFI Declaration for Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture at the 34th Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI 34) in the context of the High-Level event to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

The COFI Declaration for Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture is the result of an extensive consultative process to acknowledge the achievements of the fisheries and aquaculture sector since the endorsement of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in 1995 and to gather collective momentum in tackling the challenges and opportunities to secure the long-term sustainability of the sector. The COFI Declaration for Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture is available here.

Tags: FAO, fisheries, aquaculture, sustainability, CCRF, Code of Conduct, sustainable development, COFI

Trade figures reveal severe Brexit impact

Recent trade figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) show the scale of the impact of the logistical difficulties, market challenges, and additional administrative burden associated with the Brexit transition. According to the ONS, the value of UK exports of all goods to the European Union (EU) dropped by 41 percent compared with  January 2020. The seafood sector has been amongst the worst affected, registering an 83 percent decline over the same period. 

The UK’s Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has reported slightly different figures for fish, showing a 79 percent decline in fish exports to the EU to a mere GBP 5.3 million for the month. The Scottish salmon sector, for whom France is a major market, has been particularly badly hit, with the FDF estimating EU-destined salmon exports of only GBP 500 000 for January, compared with GBP 27.7 million in the same month last year. The COVID-19 pandemic is contributing to a general market downturn, but the FDF report shows a decline of only 11 percent in UK food and drink exports to the rest of the world, compared with a 75 percent decline for exports destined for the EU, suggesting that Brexit-related issues are the most important factor. 

The range of new post-Brexit trade requirements that have been introduced relates to the ongoing change in the UK’s status to that of a third country outside EU rules, which entails additional border checks, paperwork and other added costs. While the UK has adopted a phased approach to implementing mandatory customs checks on imports from the EU, allowing a grace period for businesses extending to October, the EU introduced customs checks on UK exports as of 1 January  2021. Overall, UK fish exporters have estimated they are losing around GBP 1 million per day due to the various trade difficulties. Reports from seafood shippers indicate an increase in the average time to market from 22 hours to up to 39 hours, and EU buyers have responded in many cases by canceling orders. At the same time, a recent survey by the Federation of Small Businesses showed that nearly a quarter of small UK firms have temporarily halted sales to the EU. These businesses are particularly affected by the current disruption as they often depend on shared shipping arrangements.  

While there is some hope that traders merely need time to understand the new regulations and streamline their operations, stakeholders have noted that some of the new requirements are yet to be introduced and that the situation could potentially worsen. 

Tags: Salmon, Statistics, Exports, TBT, National, Brexit, UK, EU


What are Blue Fishing Ports?

Ports are considered knowledge hubs where many activities happen, and they all directly influence people’s lives. Maximization of this impact allows ports to be a source of value on which strategic and operational local development strategies may rely. So far, the blue economy approach comes as a strategy to be implemented within port management and planning processes to enhance the triple bottom line of fishing and commercial ports that include preserving the environment (e.g., reduced pollution) while fostering social benefits (e.g., decent and fair labour), and economic growth (e.g., sustained profits). 

The Blue Fishing Ports project intends to contribute to poverty alleviation and food security by reinforcing food quality, natural resources preservation, value chain reinforcement, labour rights compliance, and gender equality within marine sectors. Blue Fishing Ports will foster sustainable development of coastal areas through Blue Ports Operations.  

What are the Blue Ports Operations? 

The Blue Ports operations consist of: 

  • Formalization of the Blue Ports Network constitution 

  • Capacity building on Blue Ports management as hubs for innovation and implementation of sustainable development  

  • Design and implementation of innovative tools for knowledge management on national and international fishing ports 

  • Ports design and implementation strategies and actions under the Blue Growth approach 

  • Measure the real impact of Ports in their region so local development strategies may be adjusted 

In order to achieve the sustainable development of coastal areas, it is necessary to have these operations drive changes in skills and capacities of fishing and commercial ports to create sustainable value within their regions, therefore allowing people to improve their livelihoods. 

Blue Ports and FAO

The Blue Growth Initiative (BGI) led by FAO, reckons a “strategic, innovative approach to improving the use of aquatic resources while simultaneously increasing social, economic and environmental benefits for communities dependent on fisheries and aquaculture”. 

FAO fosters the Blue Ports Network, and it is a result of an inclusive, participatory process including port representatives, international and regional organizations, and port representatives. 

The first workshop (June 2019), organized by the Port of Vigo, Spain, sought to contrast the adequacy of implementing a blue economy approach in ports' strategic and operational planning. This workshop, with representatives from national ports from Asia, Latin America, Europe, and Africa, and international and regional organizations, highlighted interesting and relevant issues on the position of ports as drivers of change in the three dimensions of sustainability. 

During the second workshop (November 2019), stakeholders from the academia, private sector, local and regional government, and civil society were consulted on their role and perception of the Port of Vigo´s Blue Growth strategy as a driver change. As a result, best practices were identified. 

During a third online workshop (October 2020), FAO worked on designing a potential Blue Fishing Ports Network. Conclusions were positive, and agreed to start the process of formulating a specific initiative to be shared and launched soon. 

More information about this initiative-  

Tags: Blue Ports, fishing, Vigo, FAO, fisheries, aquaculture, blue economy


German fish imports less impacted by COVID-19

Germany was the less impacted country in the European Union by COVID-19, at least in the first phase, occurring from late February to May. While all neighbouring countries were in lockdown, in Germany, restaurants were still open, shops were not closed, and quarantine was very mild. These relaxed measures allowed people to move around relatively freely, especially when compared to France, Spain, or Italy. The second wave of the pandemic hit Germany far more potent, and restaurant shutdowns were implemented, but these effects began only in the first half of 2021.  

In fact, fish imports into Germany were absolutely the same as in pre-COVID-19 times. The total import value of edible fishery products stayed practically stable at USD 6.0 billion in 2020. In quantity terms, imports even increased by 2 percent in the COVID-19 year to reach 1.24 million tonnes. Imports of canned fish increased enormously, while fresh and frozen fish imports declined. Canned tuna imports, for instance, increased by 33 percent in 2020. Due to increased canned fish imports, overall fish imports remained relatively stable compared to 2019 results. Canned fish became attractive during the lockdown, as consumers were buying large quantities early in expectation of the lockdowns, which did not materialize afterward.  

It is worth noting that German imports of frozen Alaska pollack fillets increased by 8 percent in 2020 over the previous year. Slightly declining imports from China were replaced by higher imports from the United States of America. Frozen Alaska pollack fillets are the main product form imported into Germany, accounting for about 8 percent of value terms.  

Poland is by far the leading exporting country to the German fish market, and for over 20 years, the German herring processing industry has been relocated to Poland. In 2020, the value of edible fish exports to Germany was USD 1.4 billion, a record result and almost USD 0.2 billion more than in 2019. Netherlands is the second major supplier of fishery products to Germany, with exports around USD 0.9 billion over the years. It is interesting to note the decline in Chinese exports during 2020, some USD 0.1 billion less than in 2019. This can be explained by logistic problems, but also due to less Alaska pollack processed in China last year. 

German imports 2020 

















































United States of America 






Viet Nam 


















Tags: Statistics, Imports, Markets, COVID-19 


COVID-19: A game-changer for fisheries and aquaculture products retailing in Southeast Asia

For almost a year, the COVID-19 pandemic has had and continues to have a profound impact on fisheries and aquaculture trade worldwide with disrupted supply chains and ways in which consumers obtain their fisheries and aquaculture products. In Southeast Asia, fishers, fish farmers, processors and traders have been creatively finding alternative ways to send their supplies to consumers. Subsequently, the use of on-line platforms for fisheries and aquaculture product trading has since seen a significant rise through fishers were able to sell directly to consumers. Virtual sales have boomed since then, with the number of options increasing. 

These days in southeast Asia, delivery apps (such as FoodPanda, Grab Food, Line Man, Deliveroo, Dahmakan, Swiggy, etc.) dispatch not only cooked food from restaurants direct to consumers but also grocery items, including fisheries products. Local supermarket chains have also developed on-line platforms to facilitate grocery purchases. Fishers, fish farmers, processors, and wholesalers, individually or through associations, also have organized themselves managing on-line platforms to sell fisheries and aquaculture products. 

Consumers have benefitted from the ‘new normal’ by having the option of fresh or frozen fish and product formats such as steaks, fillets, portion, and meat delivered right to their doorsteps. Live bidding and on-the-spot sales through Facebook and WhatsApp are becoming increasingly popular. 

Consumers are offered live, fresh and frozen fish options at attractive prices, including for high-end species, such as salmon, cod, lobster, abalone, oyster etc. In the Pacific region, fishers have introduced live videos of the fisheries products being caught with price offers for consumers to grab stock at their locations. Technology-driven retailing solutions and aquaculture products are a clear and permanent game-changer because of COVID-19. Innovation and technology are driving the adaptive processes which are crafting and moulding the path to recovery. This trend is going to characterise the growth in the industry moving forwards. 

Tags: Markets, COVID-19


Malaysia: Household demand for frozen fish fillet increased during the pandemic crisis

In Southeast Asia, Malaysia is an important import market for food fish, where per capita fish consumption in the country is 56.5 kg--one of the highest in the world. Since March 2020, demand for fisheries and aquaculture products in Malaysia’s catering trade declined significantly following the global trend. On the other hand, household demand for fisheries and aquaculture products increased in favour of supermarkets, fish shops and other retail vendors, including on-line fish suppliers to households and restaurants.  

Noticeably household choice for finfish during this period shifted from fresh to frozen fish and from whole fish to fillets due to convenience and longer shelf life. Although restaurant demand for such product groups remained weak throughout the year, compared with 2019, there was a 7 percent increase in frozen fillet imports in Malaysia during 2020 at 58 235 tonnes worth USD 140 million. 

Malaysia: Imports of frozen fish fillet and fish meat, in tonnes  

Frozen fish fillet and fish meat 



Import price in USD/kg  


14 275 

14 135 



1 350 

1 174 


Alaska Pollack 

2 288 

1 755 






Fish meat ,  

22 295 

23 880 


Total fillet including others  

54 360 

58 235 


Among the finfish species, pangasius fillet was the cheapest and most popular category, marketed as basa or dory in Malaysia. The others are tilapia fillet, Alaska Pollack, etc.  

Frozen tuna fillet and loins (CO treated) fall in the high-end product category, for which the retail price is USD 20.00/kg.  

This positive demand trend is likely to continue in 2021. 

Tags: Pangasius, Tuna, Price, Statistics, National, Imports, Markets, Tilapia, COVID-19


Chinese exports in 2020 hit by COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on Chinese exports of fisheries and aquaculture products. In fact, in 2020, the value of total exports of fisheries and aquaculture products from China was worth USD 18.5 billion, 7 percent less than in 2019. Japan and the United States of America remained the main markets for fisheries products from China, together representing roughly one-third of export value. Chinese exports declined by 12 and 15 percent, respectively. In the case of the United States of America, in addition to the pandemic, increased tariffs also hindered Chinese trade performance. Other major importers from China did not experience declines in shipments.  

When analysing the various products forms, some interesting trends emerge. Frozen Alaska pollack fillets exports experienced a significant decline by almost 30 percent, down from USD 800 million in 2019 to USD 565 million last year. This was due to limited raw material supply caused by logistic problems, which also continue in 2021. Germany, which is the primary importer of this product, experienced a sharp contraction of imports in 2020. Total imports of fisheries products from China contracted by 33 percent in 2020 to USD 430 million. More than 90 percent of this amount are imports of frozen fillets, half of which are Alaska pollack.  

On the other hand, the export of canned fish products from China experienced a boom in 2020, as during the lockdown, consumers were stocking up with canned products. Exports from China of this type of product increased from USD 3.8 billion in 2019 to USD 4.2 billion. It is interesting to notice the emergence of canned tuna exports in this category. This product now represents 14 percent of Chinese canned fish exports and is worth USD 580 million in 2020, a 15 percent increase over 2019.  

Chinese exports of fisheries products (in USD million) 















United States of America 






Rep. of Korea 






Taiwan (Province of China)  






Hong Kong SAR 










































Tags: Statistics, Imports

The classification of products is a critical element in international trade. The Harmonized System (HS) of the World Customs Organization (WCO) provides an internationally recognised product classification system. Governments, industry, international organizations, academia, and market analysts use the HS codes to classify commodities, including fisheries and aquaculture products. The HS codes support international trade regarding trade policies, import duties, statistical analysis, negotiations of trade agreements, and other associated issues directly influencing trade flows of fisheries and aquaculture products. It also allows countries to implement national control of specific products covered by international conventions or agreements, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), including fish species. Before the Harmonized System, different approaches existed trying to address the coding of products since ancient times. However, a genuinely global system was only implemented with the adoption of the HS.  

How does the HS work?  

The HS is a nomenclature structure allowing the classification of any product under a unique six-digit code. The system is built in layers – sections, chapters, headings and subheadings. Chapters (two digits) describe broad categories of goods, while headings (four digits) group related products, and subheadings (six digits) list the products themselves. While the HS at a six-digit level provides an internationally agreed basis, countries can freely create national subdivisions after the sixth digit based on specific needs. The HS system is also used by the private sector for many purposes, as it is internationally consistent and comprehensive enough to be able to classify every product.  

Fisheries and aquaculture products are strongly associated with international trade. many fisheries and aquaculture products usually have long value chains. A given fish may be harvested in one country, processed in another, and consumed in yet another. Fish is often one of the most complex commodities to classify, with several specificities. There is a diversity of species and treatments, which create a complex set of different layers covering various products and make it especially difficult to classify fisheries and aquaculture products. 

Fisheries and aquaculture products are included in the following HS chapters: 

Chapter 3 : Fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates  

Chapter 5: Products of fish, crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates, not elsewhere specified or included; dead animals of Chapter 3, unfit for human consumption 

Chapter 12: Seaweed and other algae  

Chapter 13: Agar-agar  

Chapter 15:  Fats and oils and their fractions of fish and marine mammals; prepared edible fats 

Chapter 16:  Preparations of fish, crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates; caviar and caviar substitutes  

Chapter 23: Flours, meals and pellets of fish, crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates, unfit for human consumption; greaves

GLOBEFISH has launched a new publication focusing on fisheries and aquaculture products and the HS classification. 

The FAO GLOBEFISH HS Codes for Fish and Fish Products Handbook is available on ISSUU.

Tags: HS, trade, fisheries, aquaculture


Impact of non-tariff measures on international fish trade

Fish trade has seen unprecedented growth since the turn of the century, with exports from developing countries worth USD 89 billion in 2018. Trade liberalization has expanded opportunities for countries to compete in overseas markets, with preferential concessions, such as the generalised system of preferences (GSP), further opening markets for developing countries. In so doing, there have been expanded opportunities for economic development and thus poverty alleviation.  

While reduced tariffs have been a major driving factor in this growth, much of the focus for expanding trade has shifted to examining the role of non-tariff measures in determining trade flows. Especially relevant for fish trade is compliance with food safety standards under the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Without effective national food safety systems, exporters struggle to meet the requirements of export markets. This is a particularly acute challenge for exporters in developing countries, especially where traditional post-harvest practices are prevalent but, in many occasions, unable to fulfill formal standards. Government institutions in these countries may also lack the resources necessary to support capacity development in food safety or formally certify fish for specific markets. Additionally, without a centralised channel of information, exporters may struggle to access and process the information necessary to comply with the often-changing food safety requirements of many importing countries.  

These factors contribute to the unrealised export potential for many developing countries, preventing them from effectively accessing markets in developed and developing markets. Action at the international level to ensure that food safety regulation is fair, effective, and transparently communicated to stakeholders is essential in reducing disparities between food systems. In this regard, the WTO has been a driving force for trade liberalisation and an effective platform for transparency and conflict resolution. Indeed, the implementation of the SPS and TBT agreements ensures that trade legislation is implemented in a structured and transparent manner that adequately informs affected parties and gives them a forum to raise queries or concerns. Practical initiatives, such as the ePing alert system, allow users to stay informed of changes to SPS and TBT regulations in target markets. 

For an increasing fish trade with reduced barriers, both country-led actions and international initiatives are necessary. Exporters must be both aware of requirements and comply with them, such that trade can continue to be an engine for economic development and poverty alleviation. 

More information on the WTO e-Ping alert is available at

Tags: WTO trade SPS TBT NTM Trade barrier GSP

Chinese fish imports declined in 2020

COVID-19 had an impact on Chinese fish imports. Total import value declined in 2020 by 17 percent over 2019, to USD 15.1 billion. Russia is the main exporter of fisheries and aquaculture products to China in value terms and managed to maintain its position with 13 percent of total Chinese fish imports. Ecuador is a close second, mainly due to its shrimp exports to China. Viet Nam is the only country reporting increases in fish exports to the Chinese market, overtaking the United States of America, India, and Peru. 

The leading group of imported fisheries and aquaculture products into China are crustaceans not prepared or canned, mainly frozen shrimp. This product line accounts for about 40 percent of Chinese imports. This commodity group reported the most significant decline in 2020, down by over USD 1.1 billion to USD 6 billion in 2020. Frozen fish also reported strong declines in Chinese imports between 2019 and 2020. Total imports were worth USD 3.9 billion, USD 1 billion below the previous year. This decline was caused by a reduction in processing for the re-export market. Alaska pollack was the single fish commodity reporting the most significant declines.  

On the other hand, Chinese fishmeal imports were stable in 2020 compared with 2019 at USD 2.2 billion. Fish oil imports even reported a 10 percent increase. The canned fish commodity reported a 15 percent increase, mainly due to higher canned fish consumption in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, canned fish is still a tiny part of Chinese fish imports, representing less than 1 percent of the total import value. 

Chinese imports of fishery products (in million USD)









Fish oil 




Canned Fish 




Canned Crustaceans & Molluscs 




Crustaceans not canned 




Frozen fish, excl. Fillets 




Molluscs not canned 




Fish fillets 




Fresh fish, not fillets 




Cured fish 




Live fish 




aquatic invertebrates 








Tags: Shrimp, COVID-19


Meeting on fishery products and oceanography

INFOPESCA and Korean Marine Institute (KMI) organized on 23 February 2021 a virtual conference on Oceans and Fisheries, Latin American Session. The meeting attracted some 120 participants from governments, non-governmental organizations, academia, and civil society. The presentations by distinguished panellists and the following discussion underlined that the main problems for the fisheries in the region are Illegal, undeclared and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing), the dependency on export markets, especially in this period of the pandemic, the low fish consumption in several countries, climate change, the lack of good fisheries statistics, and the minor presence of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations. IUU is a severe problem. No specific data are available, but an estimated 20 percent of the products entering the local and international markets in Latin America and the Caribbean are of IUU origin. Market intervention can be introduced, as the European Union is already tempting with the traceability of fishery products. The IUU and the poor statistics lead to little knowledge of the resources, but there are indications that many commercial species in the region are overexploited.  

Fish consumption in the region is about 10 kg, while the average in the world is 20 kg. In view of the health benefits, the domestic markets need to be promoted, starting in the schools by introducing fish in school feeding menus. A fish-based school snack at least once a week can change children's attitudes towards fish products. The dependence on export markets is also a challenge, as exports during the pandemic are becoming much more expensive at the logistical level, making it difficult to reach the typical foreign markets. In the tropical part of the continent, climate change is a challenge. Fuel consumption on ships must be reduced in order to reduce green gas emissions by fishing vessels. Statistics of production of fishery products are poor, and the quality has been even declining in recent years, as government contribution to the sector is going down. However, without reliable data, no forecast on the situation of fisheries resources can be given. The poor statistics go hand in hand with the lack of regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs).  

Besides the two tuna organizations, there is only the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation, which covers many countries outside the Latin American region. As a recent challenge, COVID-19 and its impact on fisheries and marketing need to be mentioned. KMI described their ODA projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, indicating ready to give more support to the region's fisheries sector. 

For more information:

Tags: INFOPESCA, COVID-19, IUU, Climate Change, Trade, Exports, Latin America, RFMO, Regional


Shrimp was the top US consumer seafood item for 2020

Shrimp remained the preferred seafood choice among US consumers despite the year-long restrictions on outdoor and restaurant dining associated with the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. Home consumption of shrimp increased significantly in 2020, credited mostly to increased Ecuadorean vannamei shrimp supplies at prices cheaper than Asian vannamei shrimp, particularly for raw shell-on and peeled shrimp. From July onwards, some normality resumed for farmed shrimp supplies from the main supply sources in Asia. 

US total food fish imports in 2020 were valued at USD 21.35 billion, where shrimp had a 30 percent share. Imports of shrimp in the market were record high in 2020 at 747 776 tonnes, valued at USD 6.45 billion. Year-on-year, these imports increased 6.8 percent in terms of quantity and 7.4 percent in value.  

Imports fluctuated among the top suppliers. Supplies were 5 percent lower from India at 272 423 tonnes. There were increased imports from Indonesia (+20.7 percent at 160 745 tonnes), Ecuador (+51.7 percent at 125 840 tonnes), and also from Viet Nam (+17 percent at 66 360 tonnes), but imports declined from Thailand (-4.3 percent at 41 470 tonnes). The market imported more semi-processed, and processed shrimp in 2020 compared with previous years. Remarkably, the export processing industries in these countries, including Ecuador, were swift to adopt the demand shift from catering to the retail trade and rising home consumption of shrimp.

Although demand for shrimp declined considerably in the catering trade, the share of peeled shrimp remained high at nearly 36 percent in total imports at 298 000 tonnes, which were only 3 percent less than in 2019. Imports of raw shell-on shrimp, including the popular ‘easy–peel’ shrimp, were firm at 267 690 tonnes (+9.5 percent). The growth was higher for processed shrimp imports (+24 percent) at 179 363 tonnes, including 50 740 tonnes of breaded shrimp. Household demand for shrimp in the US market is expected to be good in 2021. The first seasonal demand of the year will be during the Lent/Easter period in March/April when overall seafood demand is expected to increase.

Tags: Shrimp, COVID-19, Markets, National

Share this page