Marine exports decline due to less catch during the month

Marine Exports Volume April 2018

  Apr 18
Mar 18
Feb 18
Jan 18

Total Volume (metric tons)
8.3 51.4 48.0 37.6
Tuna 4.4 39.9 38.1 31.9
Snapper 3.9 5.2 5.6 5.7
Others 0.0 6.4 4.3 -
Aquarium Products (pieces)
17,559 32,413 16,689 28,801

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

Aquarium Exports

The total aquarium exports declined over the month of April 2018 by 16,793 pieces (48.9%) due to lower exports of all exported aquarium products. This is a typical trend following a month of high level of exports. The export of invertebrates fell by 11,751 pieces followed by live hard and soft coral with 2,489 and 1,623 pieces respectively whilst a 584 and 346 pieces fall was recorded for shellfish and live fish. According to the Reserve Bank’s liaison program, the weather conditions was not favourable during the month for fishing of aquarium products.

However, the total exported aquarium products rose over the year by 24,542 pieces (18.3%) due to a 39,101 pieces (53.7%) increase in exported invertebrates followed by a 406 pieces increase in shellfish. This was partially offset by a decline in the export of all other aquarium products such as live hard coral, soft coral, and live fish over the year.

Marine Products

The total exported marine products1 declined over the month by 43.1 metric tons (83.8%) as all varieties of exported fish decreased such as tuna, shark meat and snapper. The very low exports during April 2018 was due to no foreign fishing vessel at sea. 

Additionally, the total exported marine products declined by 885.3 metric tons (36.5%) over the year to April 2018 largely driven by an 825.0 metric tons (37.7%) decrease in tuna exports due to lower number of foreign vessels registered to fish the Tongan waters. This was followed by a 71.6 metric tons and 26.8 metric tons fall in the export of snapper and shark meat respectively which outweighed a rise in the volume of exported seaweed. 

Export Proceeds

The decline in exports coincided with a $0.3 million (56.8%) decline in total proceeds for the export of fisheries products to $0.2 million over the month. The United States remained the highest source country for these marine export receipts followed by Hawaii, South Korea and New Zealand.

In year ended terms, total marine export proceeds declined by $3.1 million (34.1%) to a total of $5.9 million coinciding with the annual decline in marine exports.


The Reserve Bank expects the volume of fisheries export to decline in the near term due to less foreign vessels with higher operation capacity which are available to fish the Tongan waters. However, the on-going initiatives from the Ministry of Fisheries may help to increase and sustain the supply of fisheries product and contribute to increase the total exports. Such initiatives include the Seafood Export Market Development including Market Development for Pearl which explores new markets to increase opportunities for fisheries exporters and pearl farmers in both Vava’u and Ha’apai. The Aquaculture Management and Development Plan consists of preparations to develop and improve seaweed planting and marketing. Additionally, the National Strategy on Aquatic Biosecurity which deals with biological risks in aquatic environments. The fisheries sector continues to benefit from the duty exemptions policy on fuel and fishing gear and the initiatives of the Government’s Fisheries Development and Export Fund (FDEF) through the Government Development Loans facilitated by the Tonga Development Bank.

1 - Excluding 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 - April 2018
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