NIPPONIA No.21 June 15, 2002
Special Feature*
Seafood from the World to Tables in Japan
Annual seafood consumption in Japan totals about 8.5 million tons. That is more than any other country except China (about 32.5 million tons), where the population is almost 10 times greater. Japan is a large importer of marine products. These pages show which types of fish and shellfish are imported, and from where, illustrating how seafood links Japan to the world.
Written by Fukumitsu Megumi, Illustrated by Oguro Kenji

In a recent year, Japan's fishing industry brought in a total catch of 6.626 million tons, worth 1.9868 trillion yen—the largest catch for any country, after China and Peru. But the amount is decreasing, mainly because over-fishing has recently hurt the fishing grounds and the workforce in the industry is declining.
On the other hand, seafood imports to Japan are increasing. In 1999, imports rose to 3.416 million tons, a total value of 1.7395 trillion yen. This represents 26% of the total value of the international trade in marine products, making Japan the world's largest seafood market. The top five types of imports—tuna, prawn/shrimp, salmon/trout, cod, and crab—make up about one-third of the total.
Japan is not only an importer. Japanese vessels fish the world's oceans, catching, for example, bonito in the South Pacific, and tuna in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. The Japanese are very fond of seafood, and the huge industry is happy to oblige their tastes with fish from all over the world.
(Data from Fiscal 2001 Marine Products White Paper, published 2002.)
(1) 36,271 tons
(2) 11.484 billion yen
(3) Ocean perch, flatfish, shrimp, smelt, cod roe
The Netherlands
(1) 37,885 tons
(2) 6.043 billion yen
(3) Horse mackerel, flatfish, mackerel, herring, herring roe
(1) 279,672 tons
(2) 71.114 billion yen
(3) Mackerel, trout, salmon, shrimp, herring, flatfish, horse mackerel, smelt, ocean perch, crab
(1) 65,369 tons
(2) 30.080 billion yen
(3) Octopus, sea bream, tuna, shrimp, squid, abalone
(1) 166,130 tons
(2) 77.844 billion yen
(3) Golden thread, shrimp, bonito, nibe croaker, squid, octopus, crab, tuna, smelt, trout, salmon, jellyfish, eel
(1) 67,261 tons
(2) 53.254 billion yen
(3) Shrimp, golden thread, squid, crab, nibe croaker, jellyfish
(1) 100,836 tons
(2) 93.308 billion yen
(3) Shrimp, tuna, bonito, jellyfish, golden thread, horse mackerel, cutlass fish, swordfish, crab, octopus
(1) 63,971 tons
(2) 49.596 billion yen
(3) Shrimp, octopus, horse mackerel, tuna, crab, jellyfish, squid, bonito, golden thread
Republic of Korea
(1) 144,863 tons
(2) 86.351 billion yen
(3) Short-necked clam, oyster, Spanish mackerel, corbicula, ark shell, tuna, herring, mackerel, cod roe, crab, cod
North Korea
(1) 65,197 tons
(2) 12.502 billion yen
(3) Short-necked clam, crab, clam, sea urchin, flatfish, octopus, ark shell, corbicula
(1) 442,535 tons
(2) 134.504 billion yen
(3) Shrimp, squid, Spanish mackerel, jellyfish, blowfish, tuna, short-necked clam, corbicula, clam, eel, nibe croaker, horse mackerel, herring roe, cod roe, flatfish, crab, ark shell, octopus, sea urchin
(1) 151,221 tons
(2) 74.247 billion yen
(3) Horse mackerel, eel, bonito, tuna, Pacific saury, shrimp
(1) 198,806 tons
(2) 123.298 billion yen
(3) Flatfish, herring, cod roe, crab, sea urchin, shrimp, cod, smelt, ocean perch, herring roe, salmon, corbicula
United States
(1) 356,382 tons
(2) 158.454 billion yen
(3) Salmon, flatfish, herring, sardine, cod, cod roe, squid, sea urchin, herring roe, crab, shrimp, tuna, ocean perch, mackerel, smelt
(1) 51,128 tons
(2) 47.257 billion yen
(3) Crab, herring roe, cod, salmon, flatfish, smelt, shrimp, sea urchin, sardine, cod roe
(1) 182,268 tons
(2) 7.254 billion yen
(3) Salmon, trout, sea urchin, cod roe, oyster
(1) 26,828 tons
(2) 10.832 billion yen
(3) Shrimp, sea bream, cod roe, squid, cod
(1) 25,396 tons
(2) 47.120 billion yen
(3) Tuna, shrimp, salmon, swordfish, crab, abalone, Spanish mackerel
New Zealand
(1) 31,082 tons
(2) 13.202 billion yen
(3) Salmon, tuna, shrimp, squid, oyster, sea bream, cod roe, mackerel, cod
(1) 27,437 tons
(2) 2.429 billion yen
(3) Bonito, tuna
Top 20 Exporters of Seafood to Japan (by tonnage) Data from Foreign Trade Statistics, Ministry of Finance (2001 totals).(1) Tonnage: Figures rounded down to the nearest 1,000 kg (2) Value (3) Major species exported to Japan (including related species)


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