Tuna exports contribute to lower marine exports

Marine Exports Volume July 2017

  Jul 17
Jun 17
May 17
Apr 17

Total Volume (metric tons)
293.9 398.5 36.4 300.8
Tuna 279.9 378.7 29.7 257.1
Snapper 11.0 10.5 5.8 35.7
Others 3.0 9.4 0.8 8.1
Aquarium Products (pieces)
7,634 11,471 6,049 7,000

Note: Numbers may not add up to the total volume due to rounding error.

Marine Exports

The total marine exports as a partial indicator of the fisheries sector indicated a strong start for the sector in 2017/18. Despite the total exported marine products1 declining by 104.7 metric tons (26.3%) over the month, it remained favourable when compared to the same month of the past 5 years and the first three months of 2017. The decline over the month was mainly driven by lower tuna exports by 98.7 metric tons (26.1%). This outweighed the slight increase in the export of snapper by 4.6% to a total of 11.0 metric tonnes.

In the year ended July 2017, the total exported marine products rose by 831.5 metric tons (46.2%) which was largely driven by a 805.8 metric tons (50.4%) increase in tuna exports. The export of snapper and shark meat also increased by 62.6 metric tons (65.0%) and 9.6 metric tons (17.3%) respectively. These outweighed a decrease in the volume of seaweed and reef fish exports over the year.

Aquarium Exports

The total aquarium exports declined over the month by 3,837 pieces (33.4%), due to lower aquarium products available for exports. The export of invertebrate declined the most by 1,674 pieces (32.7%), followed by the export of live hard coral and soft coral by 1,297 pieces and 811 pieces respectively.

Similarly, total exported aquarium products declined over the year by 26,848 pieces (18.4%). This was due to lower exports of invertebrate (15,986 pieces), live hard coral (2,874 pieces), live fish (3,981 pieces), and shellfish (2,874 pieces) over the year, which outweighed an increase in exported soft coral of 522 pieces.

Exports Proceeds

The total value of fish export2 proceeds was estimated by the Ministry of Fisheries to be $1.6 million over the month of July 2017. However, the banking system reported export proceeds for fish products of $0.4 million. The export proceeds however declined over the month by $0.1 million (25.5%) which coincided with the decline in total marine exports in July 2017. Nonetheless, the United States remained the highest export destination for Tonga’s marine products.

In the year to July 2017, a 46.2% growth in total fish exports coincided with a $1.1 million (15.4%) rise in the total marine export proceeds received. According to the liaison with individuals involved in the sector, the better weather conditions during the year and the increased number of fishing vessels supported by the Government Development Loan scheme contributed to the annual growth.


The Reserve Bank expects that the fisheries sector will continue to grow, with tuna exports being the main contributor. This is supported by the Ministry of Fisheries’ Fisheries Sector Plan, which included key principals to develop the Special Management Areas program, particularly on coastal and commercial fisheries and also the economic development of commercial fisheries and aquaculture. The duty exemptions policy on oil and fishing gear and the initiatives of Fisheries Development and Export Fund (FDEF) by the Government through its Government Development Loans facilitated by the Tonga Development Bank will also support growth in the Fisheries sector. However, adverse weather and damage to boats remains the largest risk to potential growth of the sector.

1 - Excluded aquarium products
2 - Both marine and aquarium products


Economics Department
National Reserve Bank of Tonga

Telephone: (676) 24057
Fax: (676) 24201 

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Marine Exports Volumes - July 2017
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