Sector Trend Analysis - Shellfish Trends in China

February 2018

  • Canadian dollar (C$)

Executive summary

China is Canada's second-largest agri-food and seafood trading partner in the world. In 2016, Canada exported almost C$7 billion worth of agri-food and seafood to China, of which fish and seafood represented C$765 million. This places China as the second-largest export market for Canada's seafood products after the U.S.

China imported C$60 million worth of shellfish from Canada in 2016 representing 5% of China’s total shellfish imports from the world (C$1.3 billion). Canada was the seventh-largest shellfish supplier to China in 2016. Canadian shellfish products are considered to be of superior quality, in terms of both sizes available and product quality.

Shellfish such as oysters, scallops and mussels are considered high-end nutritious seafood around the world. As the growing middle class consumers in China are demanding more seafood, the export market for seafood is growing rapidly.

The top types of shellfish China imported from the world in 2016 were cuttlefish and squid, which accounted for 33% (C$405 million) of China’s total shellfish import. Frozen, dried, salted or in brine molluscs appeared to be the fastest growing imported shellfish in China, with the compound annual growth rate of 52% from 2012 to 2016.

For the purpose of this report, the content does not include shrimp or lobster which are already covered in our reports on shrimp and crustaceans in China developed in 2017.

Contents

Shellfish market and trade

Shellfish China imported from the world

There are many consumers of shellfish (scallops, oysters, mussels, cuttlefish, clams, etc.) in China. China fisheries do not produce enough to supply the domestic market, which makes it an attractive market for exporters.

According to Global Trade Tracker data, China imported C$1.2 billion of live, fresh and frozen shellfish in 2016 (up 13% over 2015). By value, Japan, with a 21.3% market share, was the leading supplier of shellfish products to China. Canada was ranked the seventh-largest supplier with 5% market share and a C$56 million export value.

Top ten suppliers of live, fresh, frozen shellfish China imported from the world 2012 to 2016, C$ million
Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 *CAGR 2012-16
World 687 817 888 1,067 1,203 15%
Japan 73 85 116 200 256 37%
North Korea 91 98 126 96 185 19%
Indonesia 29 54 50 97 162 54%
South Korea 53 92 64 66 99 17%
United States 127 150 135 124 86 -9%
New Zealand 27 21 23 33 70 27%
Canada 35 33 41 43 56 12%
Russian Federation 37 37 23 40 45 6%
Mexico 14 26 40 25 32 23%
Australia 26 25 26 19 31 4%

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

Note: Products are either live, fresh, frozen, chilled, salted, smoked, dried or in brine.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

From 2012 to 2016, imports from Canada grew at the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12%. Imports from Indonesia experienced the fastest compound annual growth rate of 54%. China banned shellfish (giant clams called geoducks) import from the US for five months in 2014, which constituted one of the reasons for the US’ negative compound annual growth rate of -9% from 2012 to 2016.

Top ten live, fresh, frozen shellfish China imported from the world by HS codes 2012 to 2016, C$ million
HS code Description 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 *CAGR 2012-16
Total 687 817 888 1,067 1,203 15%
030749 Smoked, dried, salted or in brine cuttlefish, squid 407 461 496 483 405 0%
030799 Frozen, dried, salted or in brine molluscs 60 74 89 181 317 52%
030729 Smoked, dried, salted or in brine scallops 50 77 102 187 255 50%
030791 Live, fresh or chilled molluscs 72 94 81 68 66 -2%
030781 Live, fresh or chilled abalone 24 23 24 17 40 14%
030711 Live, fresh or chilled oysters 9 11 18 29 37 42%
030739 Smoked, frozen, dried, salted or in brine mussels 7 9 14 18 23 35%
030779 Smoked, frozen, dried, salted or in brine clams, cockles and ark shells 8 8 10 14 23 30%
030759 Smoked, frozen, dried, salted or in brine octopus 36 41 12 10 15 -20%
030771 Live, fresh or chilled clams, cockles and ark shells 6 13 23 43 8 7%

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

In 2016, the cuttlefish and squid group of products accounted for 33% (C$405 million) of China’s total shellfish imports from the world. Frozen, dried, salted or in brine molluscs appeared to be the fastest growing imported shellfish in China, with the compound annual growth rate of 52% from 2012 to 2016.

Other than the C$1.2 billion of live/fresh/frozen shellfish that China imported from the world in 2016, China also imported C$103 million of prepared or preserved shellfish from the world as shown in the table below. That made China’s total shellfish imports worth C$1.3 billion in 2016.

Prepared or preserved shellfish China imported from the world 2012 to 2016, C$
HS code Description 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Total 134,217,185 127,168,805 197,588,439 188,611,856 103,041,382
160559 Molluscs 3,877,498 3,512,640 3,717,291 77,382,174 51,868,471
160554 Cuttlefish and squid 125,998,370 117,363,025 191,181,178 103,494,578 22,828,360
160552 Scallops 1081,989 4,638,793 1,722,552 5,015,250 21,628,442
160556 Clams, cockles and arkshells 1,767,234 252,061 367,783 841,543 3,062,351
160553 Mussels 166,441 283,408 174,515 1,729,206 2,953,542
160557 Abalone 1,020,941 814,960 318,539 52,691 297,391
160558 Snails 46,156 140,942 69,937 68,170 268,884
160555 Octopus 70,988 29,720 35,297 24,567 78,698
160551 Oysters 187,568 133,256 1,347 3,677 55,243

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

Top ten live, fresh, frozen shellfish China imported from the world by HS codes 2012 to 2016, in tonnes
HS code Description 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 *CAGR 2012-16
Total 311,990 367,941 423,387 431,748 334,924 2%
030749 Smoked, dried, salted or in brine cuttlefish, squid 272,604 295,019 331,324 277,036 135,381 -16%
030799 Frozen, dried, salted or in brine molluscs 6,571 23,850 42,705 82,437 133,955 112%
030729 Smoked, dried, salted or in brine scallops 13,138 23,138 27,057 53,419 43,431 35%
030771 Live, fresh or chilled clams, cockles and ark shells 4,293 6,910 5,899 3,001 3,560 -5%
030791 Live, fresh or chilled molluscs 4,832 5,291 5,282 3,837 3,310 -9%
030739 Smoked, frozen, dried, salted or in brine mussels 1,238 1,470 2,068 2,349 3,251 27%
030779 Smoked, frozen, dried, salted or in brine clams, cockles and ark shells 1249 1144 1579 2039 3173 26%
030759 Smoked, frozen, dried, salted or in brine octopus 5,105 8,430 2,086 2,024 2,869 -13%
030711 Live, fresh or chilled oysters 808 937 1,336 1,998 2,365 31%
030721 Live, fresh or chilled scallops 463 588 2,292 2,371 1,932 43%

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

In 2016, China imported 334,924 tonnes of live, fresh, frozen shellfish from the world. Frozen, dried, salted or in brine molluscs grew at a compound annual growth rate of 112% from 2012 to 2016, followed by live, fresh or chilled scallops at a compound annual growth rate of 43%. In addition China imported 27,916 tonnes of prepared and preserved shellfish from the world in 2016 as shown in the table below. In total, China imported 367,840 tonnes of shellfish in 2016.

Prepared or preserved shellfish China imported from the world 2012 to 2016 in tonnes
HS code Description 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Total 67,533 60,428 77,905 84,819 27,916
160559 Molluscs 981 1,163 893 36,705 17,888
160554 Cuttlefish and squid 66,169 58,657 76,606 47,017 7,329
160552 Scallops 103 448 318 637 1,699
160553 Mussels 47 88 43 416 730
160556 Clams, cockles and arkshells 168 20 36 38 222
160558 Snails 7 27 3 3 26
160557 Abalone 10 10 5 1 13
160555 Octopus 23 2 2 2 5
160551 Oysters 24 13 0 0 2

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

Shellfish Imported from Canada

In 2016, China imported C$56 million live, fresh, chilled shellfish from Canada, representing 5% of the total imports from the world.

Top ten live, fresh, frozen shellfish China imported from Canada by HS codes 2012 to 2016, C$
HS code Description 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Total 353,41,796 33,252,071 41,372,096 43,031,560 56,469,773
030791 Live, fresh or chilled molluscs 16,978,940 20,082,571 24,840,135 9,057,230 29,326,231
030779 Smoked, frozen, dried, salted or in brine clams, cockles and ark shells 7,445,120 7,396,039 9,871,530 13,126,557 20,234,564
030799 Frozen, dried, salted or in brine molluscs 7,765,410 2,049,547 1,042,448 5,315,509 4,665,543
030729 Smoked, dried, salted or in brine scallops 251,564 914,361 408,051 1,134,913 1,210,798
030711 Live, fresh or chilled oysters 136,828 185,810 618,524 515,136 755,420
030771 Live, fresh or chilled clams, cockles and ark shells 586 0 3,327,436 13,452,585 253,162
030731 Live, fresh, chilled mussels 0 0 5,529 17,179 20,792
030721 Live, fresh or chilled scallops 671 0 0 7,186 3,264
030760 Live, fresh, chilled, frozen, salted, dried or in brine snails 102,077 147,442 344,811 140,854 0
030749 Smoked, dried, salted or in brine cuttlefish, squid 25,575 0 0 156,545 0

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

In 2016, China imported 3,428 tonnes of shellfish from Canada, which represented a 27% increase from 2015 and 1% of China’s total shellfish imports for 2016 (334,924 tonnes).

Top ten live, fresh, frozen shellfish China imported from Canada by HS codes 2012 to 2016, in kg
HS code Description 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Total 2,798,996 2,551,787 2,603,306 2,692,966 3,428,072
030779 Smoked, frozen, dried, salted or in brine clams, cockles and ark shells 1,174,714 1,038,299 1,407,670 1,441,223 2,182,397
030791 Live, fresh or chilled molluscs 477,405 522,837 556,859 235,006 730,998
030799 Frozen, dried, salted or in brine molluscs 775,379 668,641 262,434 424,450 364,032
030711 Live, fresh or chilled oysters 14,708 22,713 96,399 69,991 93,290
030729 Smoked, dried, salted or in brine scallops 15,501 33,969 13,027 42,318 42,574
030771 Live, fresh or chilled clams, cockles and ark shells 36 0 79,966 337,841 11,222
030731 Live, fresh, chilled mussels 0 0 1,524 3,612 3,408
030721 Live, fresh or chilled scallops 68 0 0 297 151
030760 Live, fresh, chilled, frozen, salted, dried or in brine snails 45,829 35,130 116,344 25,000 0
030749 Smoked, dried, salted or in brine cuttlefish, squid 6,071 0 0 96,010 0

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

In 2016, China imported 2,182 tonnes of clams, cockles and ark shells which accounted for 64% of the total shellfish imports (3428 tonnes)from Canada. This was a 51% increase from 2015 (2692 tonnes). China imported 93 tonnes of oysters and 43 tonnes of all types of scallops (HS codes: 030729 & 030721) in 2016.

Prepared or preserved shellfish China imported from Canada 2012 to 2016, C$
HS code Description 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 *CAGR 2012-16
Total 2,082,695 830,478 414,606 1,663,773 3,944,248 17%
160556 Clams 1,501,725 236,517 256,264 838,261 2,714,035 16%
160559 Molluscs 573,314 503,479 148,594 819,826 122,1370 21%
160552 Scallops 7,656 7,236 9,748 5,686 8,750 3%
160553 Mussels 0 0 0 0 93
160558 Snails 0 83,246 0 0 0

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

China imported nearly C$4 million prepared or preserved shellfish from Canada in 2016 in the category of clams, molluscs and scallops. The total volume imported to China in 2016 was 220,969 kg as shown in the table below. Chinese customers prefer live, fresh, chilled shellfish to prepared or preserved shellfish.

Prepared or preserved shellfish China imported from Canada 2012 to 2016 in kg
HS code Description 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Total 218,768 231,007 64,463 90,946 220,969
160556 Clams 154,518 18,900 18,900 37,800 151,200
160559 Molluscs 63,948 187,862 45,271 52,984 69,526
160552 Scallops 302 245 292 162 234
160553 Mussels 0 0 0 0 9
160558 Snails 0 24,000 0 0 0

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

Oyster products

Oyster products China imported from top ten countries 2012 to 2016, in tonnes
Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
World 808 936 1,336 1,996 2,365
France 411 589 809 1,347 1,609
Ireland 0 1 3 60 175
New Zealand 5 37 122 120 151
United States 93 76 51 165 130
South Korea 138 95 116 101 104
Canada 15 23 96 70 93
Australia 79 89 91 60 46
Namibia 44 18 42 64 44
Japan 20 2 1 4 7
South Africa 2 0 0 0 4

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

France took the lead in supplying oysters to China, which made up 68% (1609 tonnes) of the total world oyster supply (2,365 tonnes) in 2016. Canada was ranked the sixth-largest oyster supplier which accounted for 4% (93 tonnes) of the total world supply.

Scallop Products

Scallop products China imported from top ten countries 2012 to 2016 in kg
Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
World 13,694,052 24,137,807 29,666,284 56,392,853 46,942,678
Japan 11,518,270 23,741,372 28,637,201 54,054,791 44,563,815
North Korea 1,990,754 274,276 599,756 1,029,642 1,870,203
Russian Federation 0 0 172,325 428,202 311,863
United States 94,396 17,720 31,446 3,014 104,559
Canada 15,871 34,214 13,319 42,777 42,959
Philippines 0 0 0 25,011 23,201
Australia 420 17,159 1,854 33,518 15,803
Norway 1,760 3,609 7,289 1,915 2,846
Ireland 233 25,581 1,796 6,069 2,248
United Kingdom 7,804 46 102 425 1,798

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

Japan was the dominant scallop supplier to China accounting for 95% (44,564 tonnes) of the total world’s supply (46,943 tonnes) in 2016. However, the imports were 9,450 tonnes less than the 540,54 tonnes in 2015, a 20% decrease. Overall, the compound annual growth rate grew by 40% from 2012 to 2016. Canada was ranked the fifth-largest scallop supplier and captured 0.1% (43 tonnes) of the total scallop supply to China in 2016, representing compound annual growth rate of 28% from 2012 to 2016.

Conclusion

Shellfish like oysters, scallops and mussels are considered high-end nutritious seafood around the world. As China’s middle class continues to grow, customers in China are demanding more seafood. As a result, the import market for seafood is growing rapidly in China. Numerous seafood restaurants and hotels entertain their customers with a variety of seafood including shellfish, lobsters, shrimp and other types of fish that contain high protein (over 20 g out of 100 grams). That attracts many international suppliers from the world.

With the rising middle class and their increasing disposable income, more and more Chinese people can afford to buy a variety of high-priced seafood, raw, cooked, packaged or in other forms that keep them healthy. Canada and other seafood producing countries which provide high-quality and trusted products will have a good opportunity to increase their market share in China.

For more information

International Trade Commissioners can provide Canadian industry with on-the-ground expertise regarding market potential, current conditions and local business contacts, and are an excellent point of contact for export advice.

For additional intelligence on this and other markets, the complete library of Global Analysis reports can be found under Statistics and Market Information, arranged by sector and region of interest.

For additional information on China Fisheries and Seafood Expo (CFSE 2017, please contact:

Ben Berry, Deputy Director
Trade Show Strategy and Delivery
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
ben.berry@canada.ca

Resources

Sector Trend Analysis - Shellfish Trends in China
Global Analysis Report

Prepared by: Hongli Wang, Market Analyst

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (2018).

Photo Credits
All photographs reproduced in this publication are used by permission of the rights holders.
All images, unless otherwise noted, are copyright Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada.

To join our distribution list or to suggest additional report topics or markets, please contact:

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Global Analysis
1341 Baseline Road, Tower 5, 3rd floor
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada, K1A 0C5
E-mail: aafc.mas-sam.aac@canada.ca

The Government of Canada has prepared this report based on primary and secondary sources of information. Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) assumes no liability for any actions taken based on the information contained herein.

Reproduction or redistribution of this document, in whole or in part, must include acknowledgement of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as the owner of the copyright in the document, through a reference citing AAFC, the title of the document and the year. Where the reproduction or redistribution includes data from this document, it must also include an acknowledgement of the specific data source(s), as noted in this document.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada provides this document and other report services to agriculture and food industry clients free of charge.

Date modified: