According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), seafood exports in May 2022 did not grow as high as the previous month, but still increased by more than 27% compared to the same period in 2021. Cumulatively in the first five months of 2022, seafood exports reached a turnover of over US$4.6 billion, up 42% compared to the same period last year.
Many Tra fish exporters are worried about the tight inspection of Covid traces on imported seafood by China. (Photo: Internet)
According to the Directorate of Fisheries, in May 2022, the harvested seafood production was estimated at 756.9 thousand tonnes, up 2.9% compared to the same period last year. In particular, fish reached 544 thousand tonnes, up 2.2%; shrimp reached 98.3 thousand tonnes, up 8.6%; and others reached 114.6 thousand tonnes, up 1.3%.
Overall, in the first five months of 2022, the production of harvested seafood reached 400.9 thousand tonnes, up 6.3% compared to the same period of the previous year; In which, fish reached 268.2 thousand tonnes, up 5.4%; shrimp reached 85.7 thousand tonnes, up 10.2%; and others reached 47 thousand tonnes, up 4.2%.
HIGH FUEL PRICES HAVE A STRONG IMPACT ON SEAFOOD EXPLOITATION
By the end of May, Tra fish prices in Mekong Delta provinces have remained stable compared to before April 30. The weather in May was favorable while the price of Tra fish has tended to decrease after a strong increase. The volume of Tra fish harvested in the past month was estimated at 134.1 thousand tonnes, an increase of 9.6% compared to the same period last year.
Overall, in the first five months of 2022, seafood production was estimated at 3,356.9 thousand tonnes, up 2.3% compared to the same period of the previous year due to positive results from seafood farming. Seafood farming production in the first five months of the year was estimated at 1,769.3 thousand tonnes, up 5.5%; exploited production reached 1,587.6 thousand tonnes, down 1% (of which, marine exploiting production reached 1,518.6 thousand tonnes, down 1%).
Regarding shrimp, the price of raw shrimp in the month in the Mekong Delta provinces is stable compared to the previous month. White leg shrimp is entering the harvest season. The model of raising white leg shrimp intensively, super intensively in two stages, and high technology application has brought high economic efficiency. The production of white leg shrimp harvested in May 2022 was estimated at 57.5 thousand tonnes, up 15.9% compared to the same period last year. The production of prawns reached 22.2 thousand tonnes, down 0.4%.
However, from the beginning of May, the weather has had negative trends for shrimp farming. Early-season rain was earlier than usual, affecting shrimp production in the coming months.
The exploited seafood production in May 2022 was estimated at 356 thousand tonnes, down 0.7% compared to the same period last year, including fish 275.8 thousand tonnes, down 0.7%; shrimp 12.6 thousand tonnes, down 0.8%; and others 67.6 thousand tonnes, down 0.6%.
May is the beginning of the southern fishing season, however, fishermen continue to struggle due to high fuel prices that increase the cost of fishing trips, especially for longline vessels. The marine mining production in the month is estimated at 341.3 thousand tonnes, down 0.7% compared to the same period last year.
EXPORTS CONTINUE TO FACE MANY CHALLENGES
The VASEP said that, after reaching a record of over 1.1 billion USD in April 2022 with a growth of over 50%. By May 2022, seafood exports did not remain hot growth, but still reached one billion USD, 27% higher than the same period in 2021. Cumulatively in the first five months of 2022, our seafood exports brought over US$4.6 billion, up 42% compared to the same period in 2021.
According to VASEP, the reason why seafood exports in May stalled a little compared to April is mainly that shrimp exports no longer increase sharply. In May, the value of shrimp exports reached US$416 million, up 19%, after a 47% increase in April. By the end of May, shrimp exports were estimated at US$1.8 billion, up 38% and accounting for 39% of total seafood exports.
According to some enterprises, shrimp exports in the first four months of this year increased suddenly due to five reasons: Raw materials and inventories since 2021 are available; many enterprises signed contracts from the end of last year with high prices in the context of Covid pandemic; global price inflation affected the price of shrimp; the return of Vietnamese enterprises to international seafood fairs in the US, EU, etc.
Seafood exports show signs of being “out of breath”. (Photo: Internet)
In May, due to the weather, the raw material source of shrimp was not as good as in the first four months of the year. It is forecasted that in the next few months, there is likely a shortage of shrimp material. In addition, the demand for shrimp in some main import markets tends to slow down after a sharp increase from the end of 2021 to now. Therefore, shrimp exports in quarter 2 are forecast to grow slower compared to quarter 1.
Tra fish exports in May 2022 increased 65% to US$245 million, also growing lower than in April. However, cumulatively in the first five months of the year, Tra fish exports have remained high at nearly 90%, reaching over US$1.2 billion.
Tra fish exports to major markets such as the US, the EU, etc are positive due to the price level of fish exported by domestic processing enterprises being well competitive and Tra fish is an alternative source for some segments of white meat fish that are in short.
Domestic processors are taking the opportunity to increase their export orders when the average export price of frozen Tra fish products increases sharply in most markets.
“This year, the record-high inflation of food and seafood prices in the world is an advantage for Vietnam’s Tra fish exports. Tra fish exports to other markets increased sharply, especially the US, EU, and China, ” the VASEP said.
However, many Tra fish enterprises are worried about exporting to China because of the tight inspection of Covid traces on imported seafood. Some enterprises have been returned their products and suspended from exporting to this market due to Covid. Although some big cities such as Guangzhou and Shanghai have reopened, the zero Covid policy is still a major obstacle for Vietnamese businesses.
Tuna exports remained high growth at 41% in May 2022, reaching over US$93 million. By the end of May 2022, tuna exports reached US$461 million, an increase of 58% compared to the same period in 2021.
Exports of other seafood such as squid, octopus, crab, baby shrimp with shells, etc still increased compared to the same period last year, however, the increased level is lower than in April 2022.
The Russia -Ukraina war has not come to an end, continuing to negatively impact the economy. Especially the increasingly high price of petrol has caused many fishermen to stop fishing. Seafood raw materials are scarce because of high mining costs. Therefore, the source of seafood raw materials for export processing continues to be a difficult problem for enterprises.
In 2022, the fisheries sector set a target of nearly US$9 billion in export turnover. To achieve this goal, the VASEP recommends that exporters comply with mandatory regulations as well as meet additional needs for individual markets within the block; correctly labeling products.
Enterprises should find opportunities to increase Tra fish market share in the context of white meat fish shortage in European countries. At the same time, it is necessary to make better use of the advantages of the EVFTA in the coming time because there are still many rooms to develop; strictly control the quality of products to maintain the reputation of the Vietnamese seafood brand in the block.