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NEWS RELEASE 01-130; November 2, 2001
November 2, 2001
News Release 01-130
LOW DEMAND, REDUCED HARVESTS HURT U.S. CURED FISH INDUSTRY,
Competition from an increasing availability of alternative types of seafood as well as diminishing
supplies of raw fish inputs from U.S. harvesters are challenging the U.S. cured fish industry,
reports the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in its publication Industry and Trade
Summary: Cured Fish.
The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding agency, recently released the report as part of
an ongoing series of reports on thousands of products imported into and exported from the
United States. The report addresses market, industry, and trade conditions for cured fish for the
period 1995-99. Following are highlights of the report.
- The cured fish industry produces three groups of products: salted fish, dried fish, and
smoked fish. These products are made from a wide variety of fish species, some of the
most popular of which are salmon (typically smoked), cod (dried), and herring (salted).
During 1995-99, U.S. production of cured fish products grew by 27 percent in value, from
$119 million in 1995 to $151 million in 1999. Among the most important products are
smoked salmon and salted and/or dried cod.
- The U.S. trade deficit in cured fish products rose from $33 million in 1995 to a record
$78 million in 1998, before declining slightly to $69 million in 1999. U.S. imports of
cured fish, including dried cod and smoked salmon, rose from $130 million in 1995 to
$141 million in 1999. The principal sources of U.S. imports are Canada (61 percent
during 1995-99), Norway (7 percent), and Iceland (6 percent). U.S. exports of cured fish,
such as roe and salted cod, fell from $97 million in 1995 to $54 million in 1998, before
recovering to $72 million in 1999. The principal markets for U.S. exports are Japan
(63 percent of total exports during 1995-99) and Hong Kong (10 percent).
- Global production of cured fish reached 4.3 million metric tons (mmt) in 1998 (the latest
available year), up from 4.2 mmt in 1995. The largest producers are Japan, Indonesia, and
China, with a combined share of 50 percent of world production during 1995-98. From
1995 to 1998, world exports rose from 602,000 mt to 631,000 mt in quantity and from
$2.7 billion to $2.8 billion in value. As a share of production volume, world exports rose
from 14.9 percent in 1995 to 15 percent in 1998.
- Low demand (in part due to increasing availability of fresh or frozen fish) and declining
resource abundance are among the greatest problems facing the U.S. and many foreign
industries. Declining abundance of raw material causes problems both in terms of
domestic supply of harvested fish and the volume of fish available worldwide for import
as inputs into cured-fish processing. Some of the world's most valuable fisheries are
becoming depleted through a combination of overfishing and industrial (i.e., coastline)
development. Aquaculture (e.g., of salmon) is helping to offset the declining availability
of fish harvested from the seas.
The foregoing information is from the ITC report Industry and Trade Summary: Cured Fish
(USITC Publication 3461, October 2001).
ITC Industry and Trade Summary reports include information on product uses, U.S. and foreign
producers, and customs treatment of the products being studied; they analyze the basic factors
affecting trends in consumption, production, and trade of the commodities, as well as factors
bearing on competitiveness of the U.S. industry in domestic and foreign markets.
This report will be available on the ITC Internet web site at www.usitc.gov. A printed copy may
be ordered by calling 202-205-1809, or by writing the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International
Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may be faxed to
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