Islands import more seafood than they export


Counterintuitive as it might seem, the Pacific Islands as a region import far more fish from New Zealand than they export to it – a bit like the old adage about carrying coals to Newcastle.<!--more-->

[caption id="attachment_3623" align="alignright" width="138" caption="Albacore being loaded on to a refrigerated container in Samoa destined for the cannery in Pago Pago. Picture: Dev Nadkarni"]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-3623" title="DSCF0792" src="" alt="" width="138" height="104" /></a>[/caption]

Research by <strong>Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest’s</strong> (PT&amp;I) Auckland office shows New Zealand exported almost $16million worth of fresh fish, crustaceans and molluscs to the Pacific Island Countries in the year to June 2012 while it imported only $2.6million worth of the same category of merchandise.

The imports into New Zealand came from only five of the 14 Forum Island Countries. A whopping 95% of this came from just two Melanesian countries – Vanuatu and Fiji. This amounted to some $2.5million while Polynesian countries comprising Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands managed to export a mere $131,013 of the category.

The overall export to import ratio between New Zealand and 23 island nations of the Pacific worked out six to one for the year ended June 2012. The ratio for the 14 collective Forum Island Countries worked out somewhat better at one to 3.4. But the gap widened considerably between New Zealand and Polynesian countries at one to 10.7.