Irish Seafood exports values 2022

Bord Bia’s ‘Export Performance and Prospects Report 2022 – 2023’, shows Irish seafood export values increased year-on-year to reach €530m

Bord Bia has launched it ‘Export Performance and Prospects Report 2022 – 2023’, which shows that Irish seafood exports increased by 3% year-on-year to reach €530 million.

The Report finds that seafood exports increased to an estimated €530 million in 2022, up €17 million compared 2021. This represented a good performance by the sector given the volume challenges, albeit with varying trends across the species. Total volumes exported were down an estimated 19%, reflecting the challenging situation faced by Irish seafood exporters in securing supply. The reduction in quotas from the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA), affected some key species, the temporary cessation scheme, less days at sea due to difficult weather conditions, higher costs for marine diesel, energy and labour, and availability of labour a challenge for both fishers and processors, all contributed to lower volumes.

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irish seafood export values 2022
Pelagic

Seafood exports increased to an estimated €530 million in 2022, up €17 million compared 2021. This represented a good performance by the sector given the volume challenges, albeit with varying trends across the species. Total volumes exported were down an estimated 19%, reflecting the challenging situation faced by Irish seafood exporters in securing supply. The reduction in quotas from the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA), affected some key species, the temporary cessation scheme, less days at sea due to difficult weather conditions, higher costs for marine diesel, energy and labour, and availability of labour a challenge for both fishers and processors, all contributed to lower volumes.

Shellfish

Shellfish exports grew in value by 14% to reach €192 million during 2022 against a backdrop of stable volumes. This reflects a 45% increase in shellfish export values since 2020 and demonstrates the strength of demand for Irish seafood. During 2022, the average price per tonne increased by a further 18%. This reflects the strong demand coupled with tight supplies from all exporting countries. Demand for langoustines remained strong throughout the year, although buyers were increasingly cautious of the emerging impact of rising inflation on consumer demand. Sales of langoustines in retail channels in France recorded a good performance, partly due to lack of supply coming from UK. The demand for ‘Speciales’ grade Irish oysters was also strong during 2022, due to the recent crises of Covid-19, Brexit and escalating costs of production. The strategy amongst Irish oyster exporters has been to prioritise regular, long-term customers.

Freshwater

The Irish salmon sector continues to be an important part of the overall seafood category representing 20% of export values despite accounting for just 6% of volumes. Export values were down by 3% while volumes declined by 7%. While conventional salmon prices rose dramatically in the first half of 2022, this increase wasn’t replicated by Irish organic salmon, with most being sold on contract. Challenging growing conditions at sea also had an adverse impact on supplies. The sector remains concerned about the increased supplies of organically certified salmon now available from Scottish and Norwegian producers which is resulting in greater price pressures.

Whitefish

Whitefish export values increased by 5% to €48 million, while volumes fell by 23% to 9,800 tonnes. This reflects the quota cut, the temporary tie-up scheme, increased costs and difficult weather impacting on fishing operations throughout the year. Processors found it challenging to compete for supplies and staff retention remains challenging due to the lack of a guaranteed consistent work and steady supply of raw material.

Destination Trends

Pelagic exports to Africa declined by around 7% with the reopening of higher paying key Asian markets and growth of exports into the UK, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Exports to the EU market also declined by around 13% due to greater competition.

The EU continues to be the largest market for Irish shellfish growing by 17% in value followed by Asia up 20% and North America up 94% (from a low base). Shellfish exports to the UK were stable reflecting the difficulties around exporting to that market.

The EU continues to be the most important market for Irish salmon, with exports to France increasing by 4% and to Belgium by 8% in value terms during 2022. Export values to Germany declined by 10% despite volumes rising by 10% reflecting the price pressures in this market. The UK market performed very strongly during the year growing by more than 50% to €15m.

Exports of whitefish to the UK increased by more than 20% during 2022 despite volumes declining by the same percentage. The French market also increased in value terms up 5% despite volumes declining by 25%. Irish exporters found market conditions in Spain difficult with values down 10% against a backdrop of falling export volumes down 20%.

Prospects

The prospects for the Irish seafood sector are mixed. The impact of higher input costs, packaging and labour costs and availability, are set to remain as challenges across all species. In addition, consumers potentially switching to cheaper proteins could have an impact on demand.

For Pelagic there will be another cut in the Irish quota of 2.5% in 2023. Processors will be challenged to attract foreign landings and add value to the reduced quantity of product available, which will dictate performance in 2023.

Shellfish is expected to perform well in 2023 with continued growth into the EU, and Asia. The Chinese market will remain challenging due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions affecting their foodservice sector.

For Salmon, greater competition from supplies of organic product from Norway and Scotland is likely in 2023.

Whitefish exports are likely to face a difficult year but demand in the key domestic and export markets should prove resilient.

The industry is investing to ensure greater production efficiencies, installing renewable energy equipment and packaging lines to add value to their product

Exports of value-added seafood, which are captured under PCF, grew by 30% to approximately €125 million. This continues the strong growth of previous years and offers the industry better margins and more options when targeting potential customers. Most of this growth has been to the EU with notable increases to some Asian markets also. We see this trend continuing and are actively working with our seafood clients to add value to their range.

Irish Seafood export values increased to an estimated €530 million in 2022

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