Seafood: A myriad of globally traded aquatic products
The seafood industry is more of a global business than any other animal protein industry. Total trade flow value was more than USD 140 billion in 2014, having doubled in the past five years. The industry is very diverse and offers a wide range of products that all have distinctive export and import markets. Mapping these trade flow patterns illustrates the international nature of the industry and the importance of trade.
“Seafood is the world’s most traded protein due to localised production and global consumption,” said Rabobank Seafood Analyst Gorjan Nikolik
Global seafood trade is characterised by its diversity and continuously changing nature. Several countries play an important role in the industry, with four major importing regions: the EU, the US, Japan and China and a wide range of exporters led by China and Norway. The most valuable trade flow is from Norway to the EU, consisting mostly of salmon and also some whitefish.
In the coming years, China is expected to maintain its leading role as a seafood exporter. Other growing export-oriented aquaculture countries such as Norway, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Ecuador are also positioned to further boost exports. The EU and the US remain key import markets, while Japan&mdashonce the leading destination for seafood&mdashis gradually losing its prominence. We expect China to become a key consumer of high-value seafood as its population grows increasingly affluent.
Seafood industry and trade flows to remain in constant flux
“There has been strong volatility in trade flows in recent years,” said Rabobank Seafood Analyst Lian Heinhuis. This was clearly seen in shrimp aquaculture, which was impacted by the outbreak of early mortality syndrome (EMS) in 2012 and 2013. This led to changes in trade patterns, with India rising as key exporter and main supplier to the US. The wild-catch sectors also see constant movement in supply and prices, such as the Peruvian fishmeal industry, which was impacted by El Niño events that temporarily reduced anchovies available for export and processing.
The growing aquaculture industry is becoming more and more important for global seafood trade flows, particularly from Asia to the West. Aquaculture as a large reprocessing industry and with increasing purchasing power of its domestic consumers are two key reasons why China is by far the biggest player on the world seafood stage.
For more information please contact the report’s author:
Gorjan Nikolik Gorjan.Nikolik@rabobank.com+31 71 23825
Lian Heinhuis Lian.Heinhuis@rabobank.com+31 71 24568