April 2024: Many Seafood Products Have a "Green Signal" in Exports

10:02:58 AM | 5/21/2024

Vietnam seafood exports in April 2024 reached 770 million USD, up 4% over the same period last year. Exports of tuna, pangasius, crab, and mollusc shells all recorded positive growth. However, shrimp exports were equivalent to April 2023, and exports of cephalopod, and some other marine fish species were still lower than in the same period. Cumulatively, in the first 4 months of 2024, seafood exports reached a total of 2.7 billion USD, up 6% over the same period in 2023.

With a turnover of 285 million USD, there was no growth over the same period, but shrimp exports in April 2024 still reached the highest level since the beginning of the year. Accumulated in the first 4 months of the year, the shrimp industry brought in sales of 971 million USD, 6% higher than the same period in 2023. According to businesses, shrimp exports to markets show signs of recovery because inventory levels of importers have decreased, so import demand has started to return. However, actual consumer demand has not clearly shown the recovery. The average price of shrimp exports to markets is still low compared to that in 2022 and 2023. Vietnam's shrimp industry is in a "suspense" phase before information related to countervailing duty (CVD). Currently, the US is considering recognizing Vietnam as a market economy, hoping to achieve positive results that will help remove CVD tax barriers and relieve the burden on Vietnamese shrimp export enterprises.

Pangasius exports in April increased by 13% to 168 million USD, which is also a green signal after a continuous decline in February and March. In particular, exports were better in the US market, especially after pangasius enterprises participated in the North American Seafood Exhibition in March, followed by the Global Seafood Exhibition in Spain at the end of April. In addition to the main products of frozen pangasius fillets, businesses focus on introduction of deeply processed pangasius products, which add value and attract more attention from importers, as well as visitors. Cumulatively, in the first 4 months of the year, pangasius exports reached 579 million USD, up nearly 2% over the same period last year.

Tuna exports in April increased by 28% to over 86 million USD, bringing the total export value in the first 4 months of the year to 301 million USD, up 22% over the same period last year. Compared to other industries, tuna has had more stable growth in the past 4 months (except for February, which decreased by 11% due to the Lunar New Year holiday). However, according to tuna businesses, imports from markets increased again because inventories decreased, not because of better markets and better export prices.

While cephalopod exports decreased by 14% in April, shellfish exports increased by 14%. Cumulatively, in the first 4 months of this year, these two industries brought in sales of 182 million USD, down 4%, and 43 million USD, down 2% compared to the same period in 2023.

The export processing industry of tuna, cephalopod, and other marine fish all has the same bottleneck which is a lack of raw materials, because the domestic fishing output is not enough to meet demand, so additional supply from imports must be provided. However, EU market regulations and Vietnam's new regulations related to IUU fishing are causing further bottlenecks in raw materials. For example, regarding imported seafood raw materials, regulations in Decree 37/2024, just issued in April 2024, require notification and declaration of documents 72 hours before landing at the port for foreign ships and 48 hours for container ships, which is not feasible. Also, Decree 37 stipulates: Do not mix materials originating from imported caught seafood with the materials originating from domestic fishing into the same export shipment. The new regulations, with the unclear concept of "mixing raw materials," confuse businesses and are not reasonable for the actual production and export of seafood businesses.

Crab exports up to April still maintained an impressive growth of 101%, with the main market being China and the dominant product being live crabs. In addition, to live crabs, there are other products from Vietnam, such as live lobsters, sea cucumbers, etc., that still have a large potential in China because of their favorable geographical location and not as competitive as frozen goods.

In terms of markets, among the top 5 largest importing countries, only exports to Japan and Korea increased slightly in April, while exports to the EU and US were only at the same level or slightly decreased, especially exports to China and Hong Kong decreased by over 22%. In general, markets are still affected by inflation and inventory, so imports are still cautious. Typically, the Chinese market has continuously declined since February, after increasing sharply in January to serve the Lunar New Year demand. The Chinese market has many sources of supply and competitive prices, so Chinese partners have many choices and find ways to buy at low prices.

It is expected that inventory and oversupply will gradually decrease and the situation become more favorable for seafood exporters in the second half of the year when exports can recover again if there are bottlenecks in raw materials of seafood is widened.

Vietnam seafood exports in April 2024 and the first 4 months of 2024


April 2024 (US$ mil.)

Change (%)

January-April 2024 (US$ mil.)

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Other fish










Mollusk shells





Other molluscs





Crabs and other crustaceans










 Source: VASEP