In January 2013, Vietnam exported US$47.9 million of tuna products, up 47.1 percent from January 2012.
Shipment to Mexico reached the highest growth of 1,853 percent.
Vietnam tuna exports in 2012 have posted a double growth of 50 percent from 2011 and reached US$569 million although economies in some main tuna importing countries are already in recession.
In 2012, tuna landings of three main provinces went up sharply; raw tuna imports to carry out the processing contracts signed with foreign partners edged up; Declining in tuna catches in some other tuna producing countries gave advantages to Vietnam and high demand from tuna consumer markets are are important factors in boosting tuna exports of Vietnam.
According to Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), tuna catches in three main central provinces in 2012 were estimated to gain over 19,000 MT, up 80.95 percent year on year.
In addition, tuna exports from Philippines and Thailand saw a decrease due to contraction of raw tuna. Thus, in 2012, thanks to high tuna catches, Vietnam tuna processors had enough raw material for processing and gained more advantages compared to neighboring countries.
However, in 2013, Vietnam tuna industry will face difficulties in improving quality, ensuring raw material supply and in consumer markets.
At the beginning of 2013, tuna catches reported by provinces were on the upward trend. But tuna catches this year are projected to dwindle due to unfavorable weather conditions.
Global tuna consumption in 2012 remains stable, even higher in main consumers (the U.S., EU and Japan) despite ongoing sovereign debt crisis in Europe and bleak global economy. However, in 2013, European economies remains fragile which badly affected trade activities in the region.
In 2013, Vietnam will be close to become an official member of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). Thus, Vietnam is forced to control more closely tuna fishing activities and preservation of tuna stock.
Seafood exports in the first quarter of 2013 was at the same time with Chinese New Year holiday, so tuna exports are expected to reach US$130 million, up 1.7 percent over QI/2012 and down 0.8 percent over QIV/2012.
Total tuna exports in the whole 2013 are projected to achieve over US$580 million, up 2.3 percent over 2012. Besides EU, tuna exports to the U.S. in 2013 will encounter more hardship but tuna export value to new markets such as Asia, the Middle East will increase by 20-60 percent over the previous year.