31/03/21

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- http://www.fao.org/fisheries/blue-growth/en/  

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


30/03/21

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 

 

2016 

2017 

2018 

2019 

2020 

Poland 

1021 

1104 

1247 

1201 

1390 

Netherlands 

798 

869 

939 

867 

940 

Denmark 

757 

798 

742 

733 

689 

China 

401 

368 

395 

493 

408 

Norway 

316 

261 

266 

203 

151 

Lithuania 

205 

243 

233 

246 

238 

Sweden 

198 

203 

208 

251 

222 

United States of America 

198 

211 

186 

223 

218 

Viet Nam 

156 

165 

169 

165 

162 

Others 

1562 

1727 

1791 

1591 

1559 

Total 

5611 

5952 

6175 

5975 

5977 

Tags: Statistics, Imports, Markets, COVID-19 


25/03/21

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


23/03/21

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  

2019

2020

Import price in USD/kg

Pangasius 

14 275 

14 135 

1.54 

Tilapia  

1 350 

1 174 

2.20 

Alaska Pollack 

2 288 

1 755 

3.40 

Tuna  

186 

173 

8.00 

Fish meat ,  

22 295 

23 880 

2.70 

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. 


22/03/21

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) 

 

 

 

2016 

2017 

2018 

2019 

2020 

Japan 

3564 

3718 

3897 

3799 

3344 

United States of America 

2982 

3138 

3340 

2447 

2086 

Rep. of Korea 

1630 

1574 

1889 

1724 

1665 

Taiwan (Province of China)  

1576 

1727 

1871 

1333 

1290 

Hong Kong SAR 

1938 

1799 

1694 

1485 

1500 

Thailand 

1071 

799 

858 

990 

1366 

Philippines 

557 

655 

714 

625 

628 

Mexico 

428 

466 

535 

446 

480 

Germany 

443 

403 

500 

646 

430 

Others 

5954 

6261 

6377 

6586 

5700 

World 

20143 

20539 

21676 

20082 

18487 

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


17/03/21

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 https://epingalert.org/en

Tags: WTO trade SPS TBT NTM Trade barrier GSP


17/03/21

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)

 

2018 

2019 

2020 

Fishmeal 

2486.1 

2204.4 

2210.1 

Fish oil 

199.1 

224.2 

258.8 

Canned Fish 

110.2 

144.0 

163.4 

Canned Crustaceans & Molluscs 

206.6 

196.3 

128.4 

Crustaceans not canned 

4374.2 

7037.2 

5908.1 

Frozen fish, excl. Fillets 

4549.1 

4934.8 

3925.4 

Molluscs not canned 

1248.8 

1558.9 

1184.6 

Fish fillets 

440.7 

649.6 

527.1 

Fresh fish, not fillets 

731.5 

792.5 

418.0 

Cured fish 

73.7 

123.5 

172.2 

Live fish 

128.3 

165.1 

135.6 

aquatic invertebrates 

52.8 

152.8 

101.3 

Total 

14601.0 

18183.3 

15133.0

Tags: Shrimp, COVID-19


16/03/21

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: https://www.infopesca.org/content/foro-de-pesca-corea-am%C3%A9rica-latina-kolaff-2020


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


16/03/21

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


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