Marine exports start high in 2017

Marine Exports Volume January 2017


  Jan 17
Dec 16
Nov 16
Oct 16

Total Volume (metric tons)
224.0 164.5 182.4 113.3
Tuna 209.3 147.2 156.8 102.5
Snapper 10.9 14.4 15.7 7.3
Others 3.7 2.9 9.9 3.5
Aquarium Products (pieces)
12,528 12,789 10,480 6,350

Note: Numbers may not add up to the total volume due to rounding error.

Marine Exports

Marine exports had a favourable start in 2017. The total exported marine products1 increased over the month by 59.4 metric tons (36.1%) to 224.0 metric tons. This is a high record compared to an average of 113.9 metric tons for January of the past five years. This was due to an increase in the volume of tuna exports of 62.2 metric tons (42.2%), followed by a 0.8 metric tons (27.5%) increase in the export of shark meat which outweighed a 3.6 metric tons (24.7%) decline in snapper exports.

In year ended terms, total marine products exported rose by 954.5 metric tons (72.4%). Tuna exports was the largest contributor to the annual growth, which increased by 915.6 metric tons (80.1%). This was followed by export of snapper and shark meat which rose by 31.8 metric tons (34.5%) and 27.3 metric tons (63.4%) respectively. This offset a 19.6 metric tons (48.5%) decrease in the export of seaweed.

Aquarium Exports

Although the total aquarium exports slightly declined over the month by 261 pieces (2.0%), it remained high at 12,528 pieces. This was due to a decrease in the export of live hard coral by 457 pieces (21.5%) and invertebrate by 84 pieces (1.0%). Other aquarium products which rose over the month included the export of live fish by 141 pieces, shellfish by 134 pieces and soft coral by 5 pieces.

Similarly, total exported aquarium products fell over the year by 9,497 pieces (6.4%). This was driven by lower exports of invertebrate (12,160 pieces), live fish (7,236 pieces), and shellfish (3,172 pieces) over the year which outweighed the increase in soft and live hard coral by 8,107 and 4,964 pieces respectively.

Exports Proceeds

The Ministry of Fisheries estimated the total value of the marine exports2 proceeds to be $1.4 million in January 2017. However, only $0.8 million was reported by the banking system that was received for export of fisheries products. The export proceeds rose by $0.2 million (27.6%) over the month which is in line with the increased volume of exported marine products. The United States remained the highest exported destination for the marine exports followed by Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany.

Over the year to January 2017, the 72.4% growth in total marine exports coincided with a $2.1 million (34.4%) rise in the total proceeds received. The strengthening of the US dollar and the Japanese Yen against the Tongan pa’anga supported the higher export receipts during the year, as the main export destination countries are the US, Japan and Hawaii. According to the liaison with individuals involved in the sector, the better weather conditions during the year and the increased number of fishing vessels supported by the Government Development loan scheme contributed to the annual growth.

Outlook

The Reserve Bank continues to expect the fisheries sector will grow, with tuna exports being the main contributor. This is supported by the Fisheries Sector Plan that the Ministry of Fisheries is determined to implement. The key focal points included in this plan are to develop the Special Management Areas program, particularly on coastal and commercial fisheries and also the economic development of commercial fisheries and aquaculture. This sector also continues to benefit from the consumption tax and custom duty exemptions on oil and fishing gear, as well as the Fisheries Development and Export Fund (FDEF) initiatives by the Government through its Government Development Loans facilitated by the Tonga Development Bank.


1 - Excluded aquarium products
2 - Both marine and aquarium products


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