Pakistan Studies

FACT SHEET: The international fish trade and world fisheries

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)


Trade volumes

A large share of all fish production enters international marketing

channels, with 37% (live weight equivalent) being exported in 2006.

Value of exports In 2006, total world exports of fish and fish products reached a record

value of US$85.9 billion, a 55% increase from 2000.

Value of imports Fish imports rose 49% from 2000 to 2006, reaching a new record of over

US$89.6 billion. Developed countries accounted for about 80% of

imports, in value terms.

Top exporters China (exports valued at US$9


Norway (US$5.5 billion)

Thailand (US$5.2 billion)

USA (US$4.1 billion)

Denmark (US$4 billion)

Canada (US$3.7 billion)

Chile (US$3.6 billion)

Viet Nam (US$3.4 billion)

Spain (US$2.8 billion)

Netherlands (US$2.8 billion).

Top importers Japan (US$14.0 billion worth of


USA (US$13.3 billion)

Spain (US$6.4 billion)

France (US$5.1 billion)

Italy (US$4.7 billion)

China (US$4.1 billion)

Germany (US$3.7 billion).

United Kingdom (US$3.7 billion)

Denmark (US$2.8 billion)

Korea Republic (US$2.7 billion).

Top commodities Shrimp continues to be the most important commodity traded in value

terms, accounting for 16.6% of the total value of internationally traded

fish products in 2006. The other main groups of exported species were

groundfish (10.5%: e.g. hakecodhaddock and Alaska pollock),

salmon (10.7%) and tuna (7.7%). In 2006, fishmeal represented around

3.5% of the value of exports and fish oil less than 1%.


countries &

global fish trade

The share of developing countries in total fishery exports was 49% by

value and 59% by quantity in 2006. The net exports of fish by developing

countries (i.e. the total value of their exports less the total value of their

imports) has shown a continuing rising trend over recent decades,

growing from US$7.2 billion in 1986 to US$16.7 in 1996 to US$24.6

billion in 2006. These figures were significantly higher than those for

other agricultural commodities such as rice, coffee and tea.

Employment In 2006, 43.5 million people directly engaged in primary production of

fish, either in capture fishery or in aquaculture.

*All figures for 2006



Imports to


In 2006, European country imports of fish and fishery products reached

US$41.3 billion. The 27 European community countries (EC-27) continued

to expand their dependency on imports for their fish supply. The value of

these imports reached US$37.5 billion in 2006 (+85% since 2000 and

+14% since 2005). Yet 45% of these imports had an intra-EU-27 origin.

In 2006, in value terms, salmon was the main species imported by

European countries (14% of total imports of fish and fishery products)

followed by shrimps and prawns (13%). Other favoured species were cod

(10%), tuna (7%), cephalopods (5%) and freshwater fish (4%).

Top exporters to


In 2006, in value terms, 59% of the European imports of fish and fishery

products originated from other European countries. Major suppliers were

Norway (11%), Denmark (7%), Spain (6%), the Netherlands (5%) and

China (4%). Other leading non-European suppliers were the USA (3%),

Morocco (3%), Argentina (2%) , Viet Nam (2%) and Chile (1%).

Exports from


In 2006, EU-27 exports of fish products were valued at US$21.6 billion,

representing a growth of 83% since 2000. About 85% were destined to

other EU-27 countries. (The increase of EU-27 imports and exports is also

due to the appreciation of European currencies against the US dollar.)

In 2006, in value terms, salmon was also the main species exported (19%

of the value of all EC-27 exports of fish and fishery products. Salmon was

mainly exported in fresh or chilled form. Other top species exported were

cod (12%), shrimps (8%), tunas (5%), herrings (4%) and mackerel (3%).

Exports from


In 2006, 86% of the value of EC-27 exports was directed to other

European countries. France was the main market ( 12% of exports), then

Italy (11%), Germany (9%), Spain (8%) and the UK (8%). Major non-

European markets were Japan (3%), China (2%) and Nigeria (1%).


Trade flows Germany, with imports valued at US$3.7 billion, was the world’s seventh

largest importer of fish and fish products and the fifteenth exporter

(US$1.8 billion in 2006).


exporting to


In 2006, in value terms, main suppliers to Germany were Denmark, the

Netherlands, China, Poland, Norway, Peru, Chile, Russian Federation

and Thailand. 46% of German fishery imports originated from the EU-27 .

German exports In 2006, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, UK, Denmark and

Belgium represented the main outlets for German exports of fish, in value

terms. 88% of its exports were directed to EU-27 countries.

Top commodities Marine fish including salmons, cods, herrings, tunas are the most

important commodity traded in Germany. In 2006, salmon made up 22.9%

of the total value of traded fish products, followed by cods (including hake,

cods, haddock and Alaska Pollack) at 19.8%, and shrimp (7.4%).

Consumption In 2005, German per caput fish consumption was 14.8/kg, with fish

representing a share of 7.8% in animal proteins and 4.7% in total proteins.

On average, per capita fish consumption in the EU-27 is of about 22/kg,

with fish having a share of about 10% of total animal proteins and 6% of

total proteins. World-wide, per capita consumption is estimated at 16.5/kg,

with fish accounting for 15.5% of animal proteins and 5.9% of all proteins.



Global production Total global fishery production from capture fisheries and aquaculture

combined reached 144 million tonnes in 2006, with 36% of that coming

from aquaculture. With aquaculture excluded, world global capture

fisheries production in 2006 was 92 million tonnes.



During the 1997-2006 period, total catches by the EU-27 countries

decreased by 26%, from 7.6 to 5.7 million tonnes. PolandDenmark and

Greece are the countries which most reduced most their catches in the

last decade. These figures include catches in inland waters and from

distant water fleets.

Top fishing



The ranking of top ten capture fishery producing countries has been quite

stable since 1992, with ChinaPeru and the United States occupying

the top three positions since 2001.

Top fishing

countries, Europe

The main capture-fisheries countries among the EU-27 are Spain,

Denmark, the United Kingdom and Franceall producing over

0.5 million tonnes in 2006. Germany, with almost 0.3 million tonnes,

ranked seventh among the EU countries

Top species,

worldwide & in


The most caught species at the global level is by far the Peruvian

anchoveta (7 million tonnes in 2006). It is followed by Alaska pollock,

skipjack tuna, Atlantic herring and blue whitingAtlantic herring is

the most caught species by the EU-27 countries, followed by European

spratblue whiting and Atlantic mackerel.

Top species,


The top species in German catches in 2006 were Atlantic herring,

European sprat and blue whiting.

Top aquaculture



China is by far the leading aquaculture producer, accounting for about

two thirds of world aquaculture production. The other major aquaculture

producing countries are IndiaViet NamThailand, and Indonesia. The

EU-27 account for 2.5% of world aquaculture production (1.3 million

tonnes in 2006).

Top aquaculture

countries, Europe

Main aquaculture producing countries in 2006 among the EU-27 were

SpainFranceItaly, the United Kingdom and GreeceGermany, with

35 thousands tonnes, ranked tenth among the EU countries

Top cultured

species, worldwide

Various carps are the major species group cultured, accounting for 40%

of production in weight, followed by other fresh water fishes and oysters.

Whiteleg shrimp and Atlantic salmon are two major cultured species in

value followed by silver carp, Grass carp, and Giant tiger prawn. Sea

mussel is the species most widely cultured by the EU-27 countries,

followed by rainbow troutblue mussel, and Atlantic salmon.

Top cultured

species, Germany

Top species in 2006 German aquaculture production were rainbow

troutcommon carp and blue mussel.