Peru targets China for value-added export growth
With quotas on its anchovies limiting growth of fishmeal shipments to China, Peru hopes to ship greater quantities of scallops, shrimp and anchovies to China, according to a senior trade official in Lima.
“In recent years we have been exporting precooked frozen squid in different forms to China and we believe that very soon we will start to export shrimp, scallops and frozen anchovy,” Francisco Via Diaz, coordinator of the seafood export section of Peru’s Department of Agriculture and Fish, told SeafoodSource.
“Both shrimp and scallops are produced by China, however there are niche markets within China who demand quality foreign products,” Via said. “It’s interesting that consumption of canned fish in China, while not very large, is set to grow ... China has become a very important market for Peruvian products.”
Via says samples of dried and frozen Peruvian anchovies are being developed and “we hope that in the coming months to form alliances between Chinese and Peruvian companies to develop these types of products.”
Two Peru firms have offices in China: Proanco and Pacific Freezing. Others to recently open offices here include anchovy specialist Coinrefri.
Via sees “great potential” for dried anchovy to be shipped to China. Asked if it would be more economical to ship the product to China and package it here, Via said “if we send frozen product to China for the Chinese plants to process, quality is lost because the fish is quite small, so it is best sent from Peru and dried and packed.”
Peru's anchovy stocks are processed into fishmeal, of which Peru is the world’s largest exporter and China the main buyer. Citing depleted stocks, Peru cut its global commercial fishing quota for anchovy during the 22 November to 31 January season by 68 percent to 810,000 tons.
Current rationing of Peru’s anchovy stocks won’t impact shipments to China for human consumption.
“There are closures of anchovy in Peru, but for fishmeal production. There is no rationing of stocks for the preparation of frozen and canned products. It is estimated that about 2 percent of anchovy caught in Peru is intended for direct human consumption products, so this industry has no impact on anchovy stocks.”
Large Chinese firms already have a presence in Peru. “[Chinese company] Pacific Fishery has several plants processing fishmeal in Peru, with respect to other products such as frozen [seafood], there are Chinese and Korean businesses who process and export giant squid,” said Via.
Worries over Chinese vessels’ hunger for Peruvian fish prompted Peru’s ambassador to China last December to tell the Wall Street Journal: “There is still a large scope to expand Peru's trade with China in future, but we also want to conserve marine resources.”
Asked if Chinese vessels were still contributing to overfishing Via explained: “The problem is Peru doesn’t have maritime control over its 200 miles [of territorial sea], and it’s known that there are Chinese boats fishing in waters near Peru.”