Vietnamese tuna exports in the first 11 months of 2023 reached about USD 774 million, indicating an 18% year-on-year (YoY) decline. Despite a 35% YoY decrease in exports to the United States (US), there is a more positive signal for tuna compared to other commodities. Many markets, including the European Union (EU), Thailand, Israel, Mexico, Russia, Korea, Philippines, and Japan, are showing an increasing trend in imports of Vietnamese tuna. Steamed tuna loin products and canned tuna are experiencing better demand than frozen fish fillets and cut pieces.
The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) commented that the last two months of 2022 marked the period when seafood exports plummeted to the lowest level of the year (except for February during the Lunar New Year holiday). Although the total export turnover of seafood and some key products recorded positive growth in Nov-23, it has not shown a positive trend because, compared to previous months, there was no breakthrough in sales. With current developments, tuna exports in 2023 are estimated to reach about USD 850 million, predicting a 15% YoY decrease.
The Indonesian Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) has officially designated 2024 as Tuna Year, aligning with the government's strategic commitment to bolster the competitive position of tuna commodities on both global and domestic fronts. Notably, Indonesia has witnessed a consistent growth in tuna production, escalating from 229,481 metric tons (mt) in 2017 to 343,393 mt in 2021.
Despite this growth, sustainability concerns persist, particularly with regard to bycatch in industrial fleets. The inadvertent capture of millions of non-target species annually by large-scale tuna vessels in Indonesia poses a significant threat to the industry's future. Out of the total tuna catch of 791,000 mt in Indonesian waters in 2021, a substantial portion is identified as overfished, subjected to overfishing, or harvested beyond recommended limits. The looming impacts of climate change further exacerbate these challenges, potentially leading to a noteworthy reduction in industry profits by 2050. The effectiveness of governmental and industry responses will be pivotal in shaping the trajectory and sustainability of the tuna sector in Indonesia.