The Kuwait fisheries and aquaculture market is projected to register a CAGR of 6.7% during the forecast period (2021-2026). According to FAO, fresh fish and shellfish supply chains were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic on the closure of the foodservice sectors like hotels, canteens, restaurants, tourist places, etc. The processing sector also faced closures due to reduced consumer demand. The repeated lockdowns in countries have resulted in logistical difficulties in the seafood trade, particularly in relation to transportation and border restrictions. Aquaculture development is still incipient in Kuwait although the commercial production of gilthead seabream and Sobaity seabream in floating cages in Kuwait bay was started in 1997. Aquaculture activities are expanded in order to supplement local landings from capture fisheries. In Kuwait, government support to the sector, the rapid increase in demand from the consumers, and the increasing sale of fish via social network platforms are some of the drivers of the market. Thorugh these customers have much greater flexibility in bargaining for fish, along with timely delivery. Also, with changing lifestyles, this trend is expected to augment the sale of seafood. This increasing consumption is resulting in the country being import-dependent to meet domestic demand. According to the Regional Aquaculture Information System (RAIS) in 2018 the Nile tilapia breed production was 187.3 metric ton as compared to 174.0 metric ton in 2017. The growing production to meet the rising seafood consumption indicates the growth of the market in the country.
Key Market Trends
Growing Consumption is Driving the Production
Demand for fresh fish and shrimp in Kuwait is likely to exceed the sustainable potential of its fishery resources. The Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAFR) Kuwait has created a development plan to achieve self-sufficiency of locally-consumed fish and narrow down the gap between seafood product supply and demand. One such initiative is the economic fish farming project that the government included in the 2018-2019 development plan, that focused on expanding and enhancing several various operations such as the new methods and techniques of fish farming, increasing production improving the quality of the fish produced, natural fish reserve in territorial waters. Additionally, as part of the development plan, the PAAFR also launched another important project that aimed at farming sea fish in floating cages in the Khairan area in southern Kuwait. The budget released for the project amounted to USD 4.8 million in 2018 which includes various tasks under two important activities namely producing and releasing juvenile fish with sustainable farming practices. Additionally, the organization projects that fish farming could fill 50.0% of the fresh fish deficit by the year 2026 if the PAAF completes the implementation of all its planned projects. For instance, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), in 2016 the tuna production in the country amounted to 255.0 metric ton as compared to149.0 metric ton in 2018. With the increasing demand for fishes and seafood despite the higher price is expected to increase the production in Kuwait during the forecast period which is mainly driven by the governments' focus on developing aquaculture industry to reduce the import dependency.
Growing Import is Driving the Market
With the increased awareness of the health benefits of fish consumption, demand for fish has increased significantly and even exceeded local supply. This phenomenon in Kuwait is thus, forcing vendors to import frozen and fresh fish from abroad to meet the increasing demand. As per Kuwait’s Public Authority of Agriculture and Fish Resources (PAAFR), the available fish resources in 2017 fulfill only 33.0% to 49.0% of the total fish consumption; thus, making Kuwait import-dependent. Local demand for shrimp has also increased recently, while catches have been low, in contrast to the pre-invasion period, resulting in higher import and rising prices. According to ITC Trade, in 2019, Kuwait imported fish which accounted for USD 119,474.0 thousand as against USD 113,333.0 thousand in 2018. The steady increase in imports drives the growth of the market even further during the forecast period. Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and India are some of the major exporters of fish to Kuwait. Pakistan and Iran top the list of exporter with a share of 23.4% and 22.9% of the total fish imported by Kuwait.
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