The oldest economical activity of Maldives, the fisheries industry observed rather mixed developments during the first half of 2019.
These mixed developments are indicative from the increase in fish purchases by fish processing companies while a marginal decline was recorded for the volume of fish exports.
It was recorded that the fish purchases by the fish processing companies observed a growth of 11% in annual terms, which is translated to 45.0 thousand metric tons. This was in comparison with the marginal decline of 1% recorded in the corresponding period in 2018.
The growth in fish purchases stemmed largely from the rebound in yellowfin tuna purchases followed by the increase in the purchases of skipjack tuna. Yellowfin tuna purchases increased by 29% while skipjack tuna purchases posted a growth of 5 percent.
In addition to this, yellowfin tuna and skipjack tuna collectively accounted for a whopping 98% of the total fish purchases made by the fish processing companies in the country, during the first half of 2019.
Local fish processing companies had maintained their fish purchasing prices for both fresh and iced skipjack tuna at MVR18 per kilogram and MVR20 per kilogram, respectively – with regards to the domestic price developments in local fish purchases.
On the other hand, yellowfin tuna prices remained volatile throughout the first half of 2019 and averaged at MVR54.8 per kilogram, down from the average of MVR65.8 per kilogram which was recorded in the corresponding period that is H1-2018.
Due to this decline in the purchase price for yellowfin tuna, at the review half it resulted in an annual decline of 17 percent.
The average yellowfin tuna price had also declined until March to MVR49.9, following a start in 2019 at MVR75.0 per kilogram. The price made a slight rebound around April 2019 and hit MVR55.5 per kilogram by end of May 2019. However, the price once again plummeted to MVR44.6 per kilogram by end of June 2019.
Fish exports also posted a marginal decline of 1% in annual terms and totaled at 33.0 thousand metric tons in H1-2019. The decline is mainly due to the drop in the export volumes of frozen skipjack tuna as it fully curbed the growth in export volumes of frozen yellowfin tuna and fresh or chilled yellowfin tuna.
The export of fresh, chilled or frozen fish excluding tuna had also declined notably in the first half of 2019 while canned or pouched tuna recorded significant growth in the volume of exports. In addition to this, the export volume of processed tuna especially dried tuna also increased during the first half of the year.