Seafood Export, A Growing Industry in a Changing World

Seafood Export

7 Reasons Why Seafood Export is a Lucrative Business

Seafood export is a booming industry that offers many opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to tap into the global demand for fish and seafood products. In this article, we will explore seven reasons why seafood export is a lucrative business and how you can start your own venture in this sector.

1. Seafood is a healthy and nutritious food source

Seafood is rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can benefit human health in various ways. Seafood can help lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases, improve brain function, boost immunity, and prevent inflammation. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), seafood consumption per capita has increased from 9.9 kg in 1961 to 20.5 kg in 2018, indicating a growing awareness of the health benefits of seafood among consumers.

2. Seafood is a diverse and versatile product category

Seafood encompasses a wide range of products, such as fish, crustaceans, mollusks, cephalopods, echinoderms, and seaweeds. Each product has its own characteristics, such as taste, texture, color, size, shape, and shelf life. Seafood can be processed into various forms, such as fresh, frozen, canned, dried, smoked, salted, pickled, or fermented. Seafood can also be prepared in different ways, such as grilled, fried, baked, steamed, boiled, or raw. Seafood can cater to different preferences, cultures, cuisines, and occasions.

3. Seafood is a high-value and high-demand product

Seafood is a high-value product that can fetch premium prices in the international market. According to the FAO, the average export unit value of fish and fishery products was $3.59 per kg in 2018, which was higher than the average import unit value of $3.41 per kg. Seafood is also a high-demand product that has a large and growing market. According to the FAO, the total value of world fish trade reached $164 billion in 2018, which was an increase of 8% from 2016. The main drivers of seafood demand are population growth, urbanization, income growth, globalization, and changing consumer preferences.

4. Seafood is a renewable and sustainable resource

Seafood is a renewable resource that can be replenished by natural processes or human interventions. Seafood can be sourced from wild capture fisheries or aquaculture (fish farming). Wild capture fisheries rely on the natural productivity of marine or freshwater ecosystems to harvest fish and seafood. Aquaculture involves the cultivation of fish and seafood in controlled environments, such as ponds, tanks, cages, or nets. Aquaculture can enhance food security, generate income, create employment, and reduce pressure on wild stocks.

5. Seafood export is supported by favorable policies and regulations

Seafood export is supported by various policies and regulations that aim to facilitate trade, ensure quality and safety standards, protect the environment and resources, and promote cooperation and development. Some examples of these policies and regulations are:

  • The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) and Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS), which provide rules and guidelines for trade liberalization and market access for agricultural products, including seafood.
  • The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), which develops international food standards,
    guidelines, and codes of practice to protect consumer health and ensure fair trade practices for food products.
  • The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which regulates the trade of endangered or threatened species of animals and plants,
    including some species of fish and seafood.
  • The Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), which coordinate the management and conservation of shared fishery resources in specific regions or areas of the oceans.

6. Seafood export is facilitated by technological innovations and advancements

Seafood export is facilitated by various technological innovations and advancements that improve the efficiency, quality, and profitability of the industry. Some examples of these technologies are:

  • Cold chain technology, which involves the use of refrigeration or freezing equipment to maintain the temperature and quality of seafood products throughout the supply chain, from production to consumption.
  • Traceability technology, which involves the use of identification systems, such as barcodes, RFID tags, or QR codes, to track the origin, movement, and status of seafood products along the supply chain, from farm to fork.
  • E-commerce technology, which involves the use of online platforms, such as websites, apps, or social media, to sell or buy seafood products directly to or from customers or suppliers, without intermediaries.

7. Seafood export is enhanced by market opportunities and trends

Seafood export is enhanced by various market opportunities and trends that create new or increased demand for seafood products. Some examples of these opportunities and trends are:

  • The rise of emerging markets, such as China, India, Brazil, and Russia, which have large and growing populations, economies, and middle classes that demand more and better quality seafood products.
  • The growth of niche markets, such as organic, halal, kosher, or vegan, which have specific or specialized requirements or preferences for seafood products.
  • The development of value-added products, such as ready-to-eat, ready-to-cook, or convenience foods, which offer more convenience, variety, or novelty to consumers.

Seafood export is a lucrative business that has many advantages and benefits. Seafood export can provide a healthy and nutritious food source, a diverse and versatile product category, a high-value and high-demand product, a renewable and sustainable resource, favorable policies and regulations, technological innovations and advancements, and market opportunities and trends. If you are interested in starting your own seafood export business, you will need to conduct market research, develop a business plan, obtain the necessary licenses and permits, establish a reliable supply chain, ensure quality and safety standards, and promote your products effectively.

Seafood Export: A Growing Industry in a Changing World

Seafood is one of the most traded animal proteins in the world, with an estimated trade value of USD 164 billion in 2021. The global demand for seafood has rebounded strongly after the Covid-19 pandemic, driven by the appetite for high-value species in the US, EU, and China. In this blog post, we will look at some of the trends and challenges that shape the seafood export industry and how it is adapting to a changing world.

Seafood Export: The Top Players and Markets

According to the World Seafood Map 2022 published by Rabobank, there are 55 trade flows that are each valued at over USD 400 million per year, illustrating the diversity and international nature of seafood trade. Developing countries play a major role in seafood exports, accounting for seven of the top 10 exporters. Norway, China, and India are the top three exporters, followed by Vietnam, Chile, Ecuador, Canada, Thailand, Indonesia, and Denmark.

The EU-27+UK remains the largest seafood buyer by value, importing seafood worth over USD 34 billion in 2021. However, its growth rate has been slow compared to the US and China, which have each roughly doubled the value of their imports in the last five years. The US imported seafood worth USD 28.1 billion in 2021, mainly driven by shrimp, salmonids, crabs, and lobsters. China imported seafood worth USD 17.9 billion in 2021, mainly driven by salmonids, whitefish, cephalopods, and crustaceans.

Seafood Export: The Challenges and Opportunities

The seafood export industry faces several challenges and opportunities in a changing world. Some of the key factors that influence the industry are:

  • Sustainability: Consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental and social impacts of seafood production and consumption and demand more transparency and traceability from seafood exporters. Seafood exporters need to adopt sustainable practices and certifications to meet the expectations of consumers and regulators, and to reduce the risks of overfishing, illegal fishing, disease outbreaks, and climate change.
  • Innovation: Technology and innovation can help seafood exporters improve their efficiency, quality, safety, and competitiveness. For example, digital platforms can facilitate market access and information exchange, cold chain solutions can enhance shelf life and reduce losses, biotechnology can improve disease resistance and productivity, and alternative proteins can offer new sources of feed and food.
  • Diversification: Seafood exporters can benefit from diversifying their product portfolio and market destinations to reduce their dependence on a few species or markets. For example, exporters can explore new species such as seaweed or insects, new products such as ready-to-eat or value-added products, or new markets such as e-commerce or emerging regions.

Seafood Export: A Promising Future

The seafood export industry has a promising future as global demand for seafood continues to grow from strength to strength. We expect sustainability and demand for healthy and premium species to continue driving trade volumes of high-value seafood in the coming years. Seafood exporters who can adapt to the changing consumer preferences and market dynamics will have a competitive edge in the global market.


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