Squid and shellfish now the only boosters for Chinese exports

Published on
April 21, 2016

As China’s shrimp and tilapia shipments shrink, the category titled “squid, cuttlefish and octopus” is now the main booster of Chinese seafood exports.

That category contributed almost 19 percent of Chinese exports in 2015, which is 440,590 tons (up 7.8 percent on 2014) in volume and USD 2.8 billion (EUR 2.5 billion) in value (up 5.6 percent year-on-year), according to data released to SeafoodSource by the fisheries bureau of the Chinese Agriculture Ministry.

The second-largest category is shellfish, which contributed 11.5 percent of Chinese seafood exports last year –280,000 tons in volume and USD 1.7 billion (EUR 1.5 billion) in value – up 2.83 percent and 1.35 percent, respectively. Chinese exports of squid in particular are being boosted by a huge expansion in the country’s long-distance fishing fleet into territories like the South Atlantic, with fishing companies taking their catch back to Chinese processing hubs and ports including Ningbo, Qingdao and Weihai.

Shellfish exporters like Zhangzidao (Zoneco) Group have been investing significantly in distribution networks in North American and Europe. The worry, however, is that growth in exports in both categories is slowing. Squid, cuttlefish and octopus exports grew in volume and value terms by 9.49 and 13.39 percent, respectively, in 2014.

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