January 12, 2017
New Zealand's seafood exports are predicted to top NZ$2 billion (US$1.42 billion) by 2019, according to the latest primary industries situation and outlook report recently released by Seafood New Zealand.
"Strong international demand for seafood is expected to keep prices rising", the report said.
Seafood is the fifth-most valuable standalone export sector after dairy, meat and wool, forestry and horticulture.
In the year to June 30, 2016, seafood exports totalled $1.77 billion (US$1.25 billion). In the five years to 2021 the total is expected to increase 24% to $2.2 billion (US$1.56 billion).
The report noted that the average per-unit price for wild capture fisheries is likely to grow faster than that of aquaculture species in the next years.
This seems to reflect the limited supply potential from wild capture fisheries which, at present, accounts for about 78% of New Zealand's total seafood export revenue.
"Aquaculture, however, has growth potential. We expect an increase in salmon production from this year (2016) as two new farms owned by New Zealand King Salmon are already operational. Production from the third farm will be available in 2018", the report said.
It added that mussel production still relies on wild-caught juveniles, availability of which depends on climatic cycles. "Hatchery-bred juveniles are expected to gradually come online from 2018 and support more reliable mussel production".
Aquaculture export volumes are forecast to grow 4.1% annually during the outlook period 2016-21.
China remains the No. 1 market, providing a third of the total value, followed by Europe, Australia, the US and Japan.
Exports to the European market grew 31% in the year, surpassing Australia for the first time.
Mussel oil was particularly successful, with exports increasing 13-fold in five years, from $3 million in 2011 to $40 million in 2016. It is one of the most expensive primary-sector products at $3,000 per kilogramme.
"Mussel oil is an emerging source of fish oil used in nutritional supplements. While fish oil is traditionally sourced from salmon, herring and other fish, mussel oil is unique to New Zealand. Oils extracted from green-lipped New Zealand mussels are a high-value product as they are a potent source of Omega 3 fatty acids and are said to have anti-inflammatory benefits", the report said.