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Global seafood market suggesting China has the potential to become a billion dollar import market

Industry Sector

Food and Drink


3 December 2012


Matt Bodimeade

Type of News


By 2018, the global seafood industry has been forecast to hit a market value of US$429.8 billion, with factors such as innovation in production, diet, health concerns, and improvements in transportation resulting in a significant upward swing in seafood consumption.

The world seafood industry plays a significant role in the economic and social wellbeing of nations, as well as in the feeding of a major part of the world's population.

The global seafood market is undergoing significant change as pressures converge from diminishing supply, increasing demand, environmental changes and regulations, and geopolitical events.

It is, therefore, important that organisations in the seafood sector, especially those in the core industries, are aware of the current situation of the sector globally, the changes taking place, and the likely future developments.

Demand is continuing to grow, in both the developed and developing countries. Since fish is a significant source of animal protein, demand is expected to continue, especially in those developing countries undergoing the largest population increases. It is estimated that the potential loss of fish protein sources from very severely diminished stocks would not be able to be replaced by equivalent terrestrial sources, emphasising the importance of the fisheries sector on global population health.

Because of this demand/supply situation, the price of fish will increase, and there is already a trend towards the capture of lower-value species, as the higher value stocks become depleted. Prices will, to some extent, regulate supply and demand, and it is likely that high prices will drive out some minor players in the industry.Global seafood

Asia Pacific currently represents the largest region within the global seafood market. Asia is leading the production and exports of wild, capture and farmed fish making an important contribution to the food chain of the region along with the alleviation of poverty and generating employment. China in particular has gradually emerged as the single largest producer of aquaculture and capture fisheries products worldwide in the last two decades.

China's role in the global seafood market is set to change, as they move from being an exporter to a consumer of billions of dollars' worth of seafood. China has the potential to become a $20 billion seafood import market within this decade, which would lead to a global price increase for most major premium seafood species as well as for the inputs needed to produce them, such as fishmeal and fish oil.

For more information on the global seafood market, see the latest research: Global Seafood Market

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