July 26, 2012


New Zealand's seafood exports show significant growth


Primary industry statistics for New Zealand show overall seafood export revenue up by 9.4% in the March 2012 quarter, due to rising prices and a volume increase of 3.4%.


The Ministry for Primary Industries has released a new combined primary industry quarterly report, comprising production and trade statistics for the Dairy, Meat and Wool, Forestry and Seafood industries. It replaces separate quarterly reports for forestry and seafood that were previously released by the Ministry.


The primary sector continued to be an economic driver, with total primary sector exports accounting for 71% of all merchandise exports in the year to March 2012.


Total seafood export earnings increased from US$354.5 million in the March 2011 quarter to US$388.0 million in the March 2012 quarter (an increase of 9.4%). All major seafood product groups contributed to this increase.


Total seafood export volumes increased 3.4% to 80 267 tonnes in the March 2012 quarter. Export volumes were up for deep water, inshore shellfish and pelagic species, but down for aquaculture and inshore finfish species compared to the March 2011 quarter.


The fact that the export revenue increased for aquaculture and inshore finfish species while export volumes decreased indicates that prices in New Zealand's export markets have increased enough to offset any loss of export revenue from lower export volumes. This was achieved despite the high exchange rate with the USD. The majority of seafood is traded internationally using the USD. Inshore shellfish and pelagic species saw export revenue increase at a rate greater than export volumes. This would also indicate that prices in New Zealand's export markets for these species have increased slightly.

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