Scallops - May 2015

In 2014, world imports of scallops reached 157 200 tonnes, showing a slight drop compared with 2013 (-3.6 %). China was the leading buyer, importing about 30 000 tonnes, a sharp increase (24.1%) compared with the year before. Purchases from the USA, the second largest importer, were stable at 27 500 tonnes.

In terms of supplies, China was also the top supplier in 2014, exporting 38 000 tonnes, which is a notable rise of 21.9% compared with 2013. Sales from Peru, the second largest exporter, declined sharply (-18.6%). According to, between January and November 2014, Peruvian exports of scallops declined by 17.4% in value, primarily due to poor farming conditions. The largest Peruvian markets for scallops remain France (44%), the USA (19%) and Belgium (11%).


EU imports of scallops declined by 7.3% (-3 900 tonnes) in 2014 compared with 2013. With only 50 400 tonnes imported, 2014 marked the lowest trade year in the six year period from 2009-2014. The yearly average over this period was 57 100 tonnes. France and Spain, the two largest EU scallops markets, saw their imports decline by 13% and 26% respectively. Combined, these two countries imported 5 300 tonnes less in 2014 compared with 2013.

France, the leading EU importer, reduced its market share from 45% in 2009 to 37% in 2014. Likewise, Spain, the second largest buyer, declined its share from 20% to 14%. Meanwhile, smaller sized markets, including the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium and Denmark, experienced a combined increase in their share of imports, from 21% in 2009 to 35% in 2014.


Over the past six years, France, which is the largest market for Pectinidae in the EU, imported an average of 23 800 tonnes. In 2014, purchases reached a bleak 18 700 tonnes, which marks a 21% decline compared with the average.

Within this shrinking scallop market, supplying countries performed quite differently. Whereas the USA and Argentina reduced their market share (the USA from 20% in 2009 to 7% in 2014 and Argentina from 19% to 11%), Peru’s market share climbed from 19% to 38% during this same period.


Spanish imports of scallops have drastically declined since 2009, when they peaked at 12 600 tonnes. From 2009 to 2014, average yearly imports amounted to 9 800 tonnes, and 2014 recorded the lowest year, importing only 7 200 tonnes. In this period of weakening demand, Italy has been impacted directly.  The country was the number one supplier in 2009 with 46% market share but in 2014  provided less than 10% to Spain. In this same period, France grew their position from 27% in 2009 to 56% in 2014.


The Italian market for scallops has remained rather stable with average annual imports at 5 800 tonnes in the 2009-2014 period. The UK has confirmed its position as the leading supplier, covering 52% of the Italian market share in 2014. France and Peru were the second and third suppliers, both showing stable supplies over the past six years.


According to estimates from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the supply of US sea scallops in 2015 will increase by 37  to 40% compared with 2014. Findings noted that  “from 1 March 2015 to 28 February 2016, the supply of US sea scallops is set to increase from around 32-35 million lbs in 2014 to 46-48 million lbs in 2015” (Source: Undercurrent news). However, this forecasted increase, which has not been made official by American authorities, is being questioned by large-scale private operators, namely Eastern Fisheries and Oceans Fleet Fisheries.


According to, the major fishery cooperatives in Northern Japan are reporting that in 2015, landings of scallops in the Sea of Okhotsk will decrease. Production estimates, including both wild and cultured scallops, are around 284 000 tonnes, reflecting a 12% drop compared with 2014’s production of 322 000 tonnes.

Bivalves Outlook

An increasing amount of farmed and wild bivalve products complying with quality or environmental standards will be sold on the market in 2015. Labelling may possibly lift prices and help the economic situation of producers in this period of high competition and losses due to climate change. As evidenced in recently published scientific findings, ocean acidification remains a significant potential threat for marine bivalves.

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