Seafood production and trade in various APEC economies: the need for harmful biotoxin regulatory mechanisms.

In 1999, the world's seafood (fish, crustaceans, molluscs) production reached 106.8 miilion mt, with 92.9 million mt derived from capture fisheries and 13.9 million mt from marine/brackish water aquaculture. Out of the total seafood production, molluscs comprised 13.6 million mt, of which 3.4 million mt (25.2%) were from capture fisheries. Seafood is one of the most highly traded commodities in the world market, and has experienced a doubling of trade volume between 1984 and 1994. For 1999, the world's total value of seafood imports was US$57,492,816,000 with the international exports recording a value of US$52,882,533,000. Internationally, Japan ranked first in seafood imports, while Thailand was first seafood exports in 1999. With globalisation, seafood trade will be subjected to more stringent regulation and control. Presently, most countries are free to impose their own regulations concerning seafood imports for food safety reasons. Regulations imposed on Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) toxin contamination of seafood have always been contentious issues. Even though an HAB occurence frequently places molluscs at greater risk of HAB toxin contamination, very often, importing countries choose the safer option by imposing a total ban on all seafood products from the HAB affected country. This action is needless and irrational, and has adverse economic impacts. The need for standardisation of regulatory mechanism in relation to seafood trade and training regulatory authorities is also discussed.


Choo, P.S. (2004)
p. 88-94. Harmful algae management and mitigation.