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Quebec Bulletin
June-July 2017/Volume 20/Number 3

Significant Increase in Quebec Marine Product Exports in 2016

Quebec marine product exports were up significantly in 2016, especially in value. A total of 21,927 tonnes were exported for a value of $345.5 million, a 10% increase in volume and a 21% increase in value compared to the year before. There are two main reasons for this significant increase in the value of exports: the increase in lobster and snow crab exports to the United States, and the increase in average export price due to the weak Canadian dollar relative to the American dollar.

Breakdown of value of Quebec marine product exports in 2016
(percentages in parentheses: comparison of 2016/2015)

By main species ($ million)

Graph illustrating the breakdown of value of Quebec marine product exports by main species in 2016
Source: EXIM Database, Statistics Canada

By main markets ($ million)

Graph illustrating the breakdown of value of Quebec marine product exports by main markets in 2016

Source: EXIM Database, Statistics Canada

The main marine products that Quebec exports are snow crab (40% by volume, 44% by value), lobster (14% by volume, 28% by value) and shrimp (11% by volume, 10% by value). These three species alone made up 65% of the total volume and 82% of the total value of Quebec marine product exports in 2016. Groundfish, pelagic fish and other shellfish were next, with market shares of 5%, 2% and 5%, respectively.

Main markets
The United States was the main market for marine product exports from Quebec, with 15,219 tonnes (69% of total) and a value of $268.3 million (78% of total). This is a 6% increase in volume and a 17% increase in value compared to 2015.

The European Union was the second-largest market, with 2,582 tonnes (12% of total) and a value of $36.5 million (11% of total). This is a 208% increase in volume and a 219% increase in value. This exceptional performance is due to a huge increase in shrimp exports to Europe.

Central and South America are the third-largest market, with 1,857 tonnes (8% of total) and a value of $11.7 million (3% of total). This is a 26% increase in volume and a 20% increase in value.

The fourth-largest importer of marine products from Quebec was Japan, with 643 tonnes (3% of total) and a value of $10.9 million (3% of total). In this case, however, volume decreased by 33% and value by 20%. This is owing to the significant decrease in snow crab exports to Japan, which is getting more and more of its snow crab from Russia.

    Value of main Quebec exports of marine products (%/total)
by destination country in 2016

   ($ million) (%/total)

SNOW CRAB

$151.2 M

 

United States

$142.7 M

94%

Japan

$7.2 M

5%

Other Countries

$1.3 M

1%

LOBSTER

$98.3 M

 

United States

$90.0 M

92%

European Union

$6.8 M

7%

Other Countries

$1.5 M

1%

SHRIMP

$33.7 M

 

European Union and Other Countries

$26.4 M

78%

United States

$7.3 M

22%

Source: EXIM Database, Statistics Canada

Historically, the United States and Japan have been the main purchasers of Quebec snow crab. In 2016, their respective market shares were 94% and 5%. The main importers of lobster have been the United States with a share of 92% followed by the European Union—mainly Spain and France—with 7%. The main importers of Northern shrimp from Quebec are the European Union with 78% and the United States with 2%. Europe is the largest market for imported cooked and peeled shrimp from Canada, including from Quebec. Specifically, the United Kingdom and Denmark are the gateway for frozen peeled Northern shrimp. The shrimp is then re-exported to other countries in Europe and around the world.

Diversifying export markets
In closing, the export markets for Quebec marine products are suffering from a lack of geographic diversity. Diversification would reduce the risk of exports collapsing if the main market—in this case, the United States—experiences an economic downturn. It would mean that poor performance from one market could be compensated by strong performance from others. Therefore, let us hope that Quebec will be able to better diversify its marine product export markets in the future.

Martial Ménard
Strategic Services

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