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Japanese scallops flock to U.S. and Southeast Asia, but unable to offset China shortfall

In 2022, Japan will export approximately 96,000 tons of scallops to China. After the Fukushima nuclear wastewater discharge incident in August last year, exports to China dropped sharply to 49,000 tons in 2023.

As a result, Japan shifted its export destinations to other countries, especially the United States and Southeast Asia. As of February, the export volume of these countries has increased significantly, but it is still far from making up for the gap in China.

According to statistics, Japan's seafood export volume in February was 34,262 tons, a year-on-year decrease of 3%, with a value of 29.9 billion yen ($202 million), a year-on-year decrease of 6%. Exports of frozen scallops in shells for reprocessing increased by 31% year-on-year to 2,033 tons, and the average price was 245 yen per kilogram, down 28% year-on-year.

In the first two months of 2024, Japan’s export volume of shelled scallops was 2,386 tons, a year-on-year increase of 41%. However, some exporters predict that after the start of the Hokkaido production season in March, the total export volume will be lower than last year.

In the first two months, Japanese scallop exports to Vietnam reached 1,085 tons, a year-on-year increase of 736%; exports to Thailand were 802 tons (Thailand almost imported Japanese scallops for the first time).

A Japanese exporter told : "We see that the scallop processing capabilities of Thailand and Vietnam are far less than those of China."

In addition, exports to the United States, Europe and Taiwan markets are also growing. In February, Japan exported 368 tons of frozen shelled scallops to the United States, a year-on-year increase of 347%; exported 136 tons to the Netherlands, a year-on-year increase of 142%; and exported 262 tons to Taiwan, a year-on-year increase of 137%.


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