FAO: Global Seafood Exports Increased in 2007
International seafood exports increased 9.5 percent to $86 billion in 2006 and nearly 7 percent to $92 billion last year, according to a Food and Agriculture Organization report released yesterday. The FAO's Sub-Committee on Fish Trade is meeting in Bremen, Germany, this week; more than 60 countries are participating.
International seafood exports now represent 38 percent of global seafood production of 145 million metric tons. Developing countries account for half of all seafood exports, while developed countries represent 80 percent of all seafood imports, in terms of value.
China is the world's largest seafood exporter; its exports are valued at $9.7 billion. Its imports are also growing, reaching $4.2 billion in 2007, due, in part, to secondary processing; China imports seafood, processes it and re-exports it.
China is likely to soon overtake Spain as the world's No. 3 seafood importer behind Japan and the United States. The country's per-capita seafood consumption has ballooned from about 11 pounds in the 1970s to more than 57 pounds 26 today.
"In essence, much of the increase of total production of fish in the world has not only taken place in China, but has also been consumed in China," says the FAO report.
Regionally, the 27-member European Union is the world's biggest seafood market; its imports jumped 11 percent to $23 billion last year.
This week in Bremen, the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade is discussing the need to help developing countries meet importing countries' increasingly stringent food-safety requirements and to ensure seafood is caught and farmed in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, among other issues.