Cuttlefish and octopus exports this year are expected to increase by four per cent from last year to reach US$470 million, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Producers and Exporters (VASEP).
VASEP general secretary Truong Dinh Hoe said that Vietnam earned $440 million from cuttlefish and octopus exports last year, a year-on-year increase of three per cent, with South Korea, Japan and the EU the largest import markets.
Exports of frozen cuttlefish and octopus contributed 34 per cent and 32 per cent of the total exports, respectively, and dried and processed products the rest.
Demand from Japan, the EU and other markets recovered significantly in the last few months of the year, but exports to the largest import market of South Korea, which accounted for 38 per cent of total cuttlefish and octopus exports, fell strongly.
In the last few years, a scarcity of raw materials was a hurdle for mollusc exporters, who had to depend on imported sources.
The situation is expected to continue this year, with imports of raw materials forecast to increase strongly in the first quarter of the year.
Global demand for this kind of mollusc will not be high, but there is drastic competition among export countries, he said.
VASEP forecast cuttlefish and octopus exports just slightly higher than four per cent this year, Hoe said, adding that exports in the first quarter were estimated to reach $80 million, a year-on-year decrease of 1.93 per cent.
While exports to South Korea and Japan could fall slightly in the first quarter, exports to EU will rise but not by much.