In 2012, the aquatic product exports reached 180,000 tons, with a total volume of US$671.1349 million. This is the second consecutive year for Ningbo to maintain a high growth rate (over 34%) of aquatic product exports, according to the latest statistics released by Ningbo Municipal Aquatic Product Industry Association.
According to the report, the product structure of the aquatic product exports has become more reasonable. Besides maintaining the growth of the traditional markets, the enterprises have been expanding the global market. The leading enterprises are playing a more prominent role in exporting and enterprises with high-end products are taking the lead.
Canned and processed products gaining strength
Statistics show that with the decline of the offshore resources and the high prices in the domestic market, the traditional leading aquatic product exports such as frozen hairtail, frozen pomfret fish and frozen shrimp have been declining over the past few years. The dominant varieties in the previous years including frozen minced fish and other frozen fish have been decreasing in both imports and exports.
However, the increase of such canned and processed products as imported tuna, bonito and sardine in exports has played an indispensable role in the adjustment of product structure and has greatly alleviated the impact of the reduction of the exports of offshore resource products.
According to statistics, in 2012, the exports of canned tuna and bonito amounted to 22,300 tons with a total export volume of US$117.6 million, up by 17.85% over the same period last year. The processed tuna, bonito and sardine accounted for 17.53% of all the aquatic product exports.
Southeast Asia and North America becoming emerging markets
In terms of the target market, Japan and South Korea have been the traditional ones. In 2012, the two countries ranked the top two among all the markets of Ningbo's exports with US$234 million and US$81 million respectively, accounting for 46.94% of the total export volume. However, it has a large decline compared with the rate of the previous year (54.15%).
Live perches used to be a major product for exports to South Korea. But last year, the price stood at US$7.5 per kilo, even lower than the breeding cost. The total export of live fish was 759 tons, with a reduction of 1514 tons compared with the previous year, down by 66.6%. In addition, with the impact of the European debt crisis, the total export volume to Europe dropped dramatically.
Despite the gloomy performance of the traditional markets, some local aquatic product exporters obtained considerate amount of orders from 104 countries and regions including some emerging markets in Southeast Asia, North America and Africa. Besides Japan and South Korea, the other three countries ranking among the top five are Thailand, the United States and Russia.
"The change of the export markets for Ningbo's aquatic products is mainly due to the product structure adjustment and such macro economic situations as the European debt crisis. In the meanwhile, it demonstrates the ever-improving international market expanding capacity of the local aquatic product exporters." commented a related official from Ningbo Ocean and Fishery Bureau.
SMEs expecting structural adjustment and new ideas
With the reduction of the offshore aquatic resources, the traditional aquatic products are facing ever-increasing difficulties. According to some insiders, to guarantee the sustainable growth of the aquatic product, the authority must make more efforts in adjusting product structure. The key of the adjustment lies in cultivated aquatic products, especially the white shrimps (Penaeus vannamei). Ningbo has its advantage in the resource of white shrimps and the frozen shrimps are in great need in the international market. It is crucial for the related departments to strengthen guidance to enterprises to give them confidence to make breakthroughs in exporting cultivated aquatic products.
In view of the unbalanced development of enterprises, the key lies in how to promote the transformation of resource processing enterprises to aquatic product enterprises.