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Southeast Asia's buoyant seafood exports: it's much more than just shrimp and tuna.

Southeast Asia's Buoyant Seafood Exports: It's Much More Than Just Shrimp and Tuna

Prepared eel? Taiwan exported nearly 16,750 tons of it last year, and it brought in nearly $290 million, to make it the island's largest frozen fish or seafood export in both tonnage and dollar terms.

Shrimp are still important to the export economies of Southeast Asia and India, but they aren't the whole story. Thailand, for example, shipped 149,464 tons of frozen fish, vs. 48,994 of frozen raw shrimp, 57,915 tons of frozen cephalopods and only 2,212 tons of frozen cooked and peeled shrimp.

While shrimp remain the largest fish or seafood export from India, at 56,835 tons for 1988-89, other categories are growing faster. Frozen squid exports, at 16,374 tons for 1988-89, more than doubled their 1987-88 volume of 7,621 tons. Shrimp tonnage, by contrast, was only 1.97% ahead of the 1987-88 total of 55,736.

Taiwan's fish and seafood exports totaled 151,522 tons last year, and brought in $834.9 million. Further-processed finfish, mostly the prepared eel, accounted for 22,343 tons and $361.7 million, crustaceans and molluscs for 50,197 tons and $335 million, whole fish for 30,511 tons and $42.1 million, and fish steaks and fillets for 9,100 tons and $27.8 million.

Bangladesh is also diversifying its fish and seafood exports, according to the Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association. For 1987-88, exports included 4,200 tons of whitefish and 2,700 tons of frog legs as well as 15,000 tons of shrimp. Shrimp production last year increased from 15,455 to 18,100 tons, and exports for 1988-89 have been running well ahead of those for 1987-88. Frog legs and fish exports will apparently end at close to 1987-88 levels.

Japan and the United States remain the largest markets. Japan, not surprisingly, buys nearly all of Taiwan's exports of prepared eel, roasted eel, grass shrimp, striped prawn and carangidaf, and half its peeled shrimp. The U.S. is Taiwan's primary customer for cooked peeled shrimp, and Puerto Rico buys nearly half the frozen tuna for further processing. But Singapore buys 80% of the whole mackerel, Thailand nearly all the moonfish and Saudi Arabia a large chunk of the tilapia and milkfish. Kuwait also imports a lot of tilapia.

At 55.8% for 1988-89, Japan still dominates the Indian export market for shrimp; but its share has gradually slipped -- it was 62.9% two year go. The U.S. share has increased somewhat, from 21.9% to 22.7%, but the largest gains have been for Western Europe (from 13.1% to 18.2%) and "other" (doubtless largely Middle Eastern countries), from two percent to 3.3%. Spain is the largest market for Indian squid and cuttlefish, with France, Greece and Italy also major players. Japan is the largest customer for finfish, but Singapore is a close second and Kuwait a respectable third.

Not really part of Southeast Asia, but competing for many of the same markets is New Zealand. Exports stalled in 1987, decreasing in volume by one percent although sales value increased three percent to NZ$676 million. Total production for the year was 487,170 tons, with domestic and charter fleets increasing their catch by 100,000 tons and foreign fleets catching 28,000 tons less. Revenue is said to have increased last year, when the quota was 611,000 tons, but there were no 1988 figures offered on either tonnage or value by the New Zealand Fishing Industry Board.
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Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Oct 1, 1989
Words:595
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