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Thailand Suffers From US Tuna Crisis, Exports Drop Dramatically Thailand, January 14, 13

Thailand’s tuna producers took a severe knockdown last year, as they shipped a dramatic 23% less in tuna products to the US in 2012 compared to 2011. The nation, which faced record high raw material prices, is the world’s largest tuna exporter and is the first to suffer from the severe decline of tuna sales in the US canned tuna market, where it dominates as the main supplier.

The total export volume of Thai tuna products dropped from about 99,400 tons in 2011 to roughly 76,500 tons in 2012, according to data from the Thai Customs Department. This includes both canned tuna and pre-cooked frozen tuna loins.
Data from the US National Marine Fisheries Service, which separates the two products, provides a similar recap of the declining trend. In 2012, the US imported about 72,400 tons of canned tuna and about 15,900 tons of pre-cooked frozen tuna loins from Thailand – each down about 29% and 36% respectively from 2011 volumes.

With last year’s suffering in the US market and the continued threats by the EU – specifically from the Spanish canning industry – 2013 certainly looks to be a challenging year for Thai tuna processors. The decline in the exports to the USA, will need to be off-set by developing new markets domestically or in South America and the Arabian speaking countries.