Lobster exports surged 57-fold in first half of 2024

In the first half of 2024, seafood exports brought in over USD 4.4 billion, with lobster exports skyrocketing 57-fold year-on-year to over USD 130 million.

Seafood exports rose by 14%

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), in June 2024, Vietnam’s seafood exports were estimated at USD 875 million, a 14% increase year-on-year. This was the highest monthly export value so far this year. Consequently, cumulative seafood exports in the first half of this year reached over USD 4.4 billion, nearly 7% higher than the same period in 2023.

In the first half of this year, shrimp exports brought in over USD 1.6 billion, 7% higher than the same period last year. Whiteleg shrimp accounted for nearly USD 1.2 billion, a slight increase of 3%, while black tiger shrimp reached over USD 200 million, a decrease of 10%. Notably, lobster exports surged 57-fold compared to the same period, reaching over USD 130 million.

Pangasius exports in the first half of this year totaled USD 922 million, nearly 6% higher year-on-year. Despite an improvement in demand, export prices to markets such as China, the EU, and the UK remain low. Only the U.S. market showed positive signs in terms of both price and import volume.

Tuna exports in the first half of this year increased by nearly 25%, reaching USD 477 million, mainly due to a strong rise in canned and pouched tuna. Meanwhile, exports of squid and octopus fell slightly by 1% to USD 289 million, with a decrease in squid exports, while octopus exports increased.

Apart from tuna, many other sea fish showed increased demand and sales in the first half of this year. Notably, seabass exports grew by 27%, reaching over USD 36 million; scad increased by 14%, reaching over USD 29 million; mackerel grew by 6%; pollock by 8%, reaching USD 38 million; and amberjack saw a 96% increase. Some freshwater fish also saw increased import demand, including red tilapia, which rose by 32%; snakehead fish, up by 18%; and eel, which increased by 93%.

Lobster shipment surged

China is currently the largest market for Vietnam’s lobster exports, accounting for 98-99%. Experts attribute the 57-fold increase in lobster exports in the first half of 2024 to China’s massive buying of Vietnamese lobsters.

Previously, in October 2023, China stopped importing Vietnamese spiny lobsters due to regulations related to its Wildlife Protection Law. To export spiny lobsters to China, businesses must prove that the seed lobsters were not directly caught from the sea, provide clearly document the farming process, use only F2 generation seeds, and have import licenses.

On January 20, 2024, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam led a delegation to work with the Guangdong Provincial Government (China) on agricultural trade cooperation. Both sides agreed to address issues related to sturgeon and spiny lobster exports through a special mechanism and include this in a protocol between the two countries. While waiting for the protocol to be signed, China will consider creating a special mechanism for registered lobster export facilities.

In Vietnam, many localities have strengths in lobster farming, with an estimated annual production of about 4,000 tons. Spiny lobsters alone shows high economic value, generating about VND 2,000 billion in revenue.

Vietnam’s 46 packers are allowed to export lobsters to China. Currently, lobster exports to China are trending positively, but in the long term, official export channels should be prioritized. This requires building value chains from production, purchasing, to export, with transparent traceability.


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