Mussels - June 2015
2015-06-02 15:15:16   copyfrom:Globefish    hits:

International trade of mussels continues to be significant, with 276 900 tonnes imported by the top ten importing countries in 2014, which is roughly the same amount as the year before.


Imports are dominated by nine European countries, which are responsible for 67% of global imports of mussels, mainlyMytilus edulisMytilus galloprovincialis and Mytilus chiliensis. Despite the slight drop in exports (-1.1% between 2013 and 2014), Chile remains the number one world exporter.

For 2014, EU imports of mussels reached 198 100 tonnes, which is 4.2% lower compared with the yearly average recorded in the six year period (2009-2014). 2014 was actually the lowest year for imports during this period, with 2011 the peak year, recording imports of 224 700 tonnes. During this six year period, France was the highest importing country with a 27% market share followed by Italy (20% market share), Belgium (14%) and the Netherlands (13%). 2014 was unique in that France and Italy both increased their import volumes by 2.5% and 4% respectively. The Netherlands’ imports dropped significantly by 29.9% (-8 100 tonnes).
Over the past six years (2009-2014), the performance of individual mussel suppliers to France has shifted dramatically. Indeed, Spain’s market share plummeted from 37% in 2009 to 25% in 2014, although the country has remained the top supplier to the French market. The Netherlands kept its position as the second lead supplier, however its market share dropped from 28% to 23%. Chile challenged many of the more traditional suppliers, moving from a negligible position in 2009 (below the eighth supplier) to become the third lead exporter, increasing its supplies to France by 91 % from 2011 to 2014, up to a total of 10 100 tonnes.
In terms of domestic production, rope grown mussels produced by 30 producers in a specific part of Western France (Charente Maritime) will be awarded the well-known, quality food label, Label Rouge, for the May-October 2015 season. The French market is highly segmented, and domestically grown mussels tend to receive a premium. As illustrated in the graphic, retail prices of the specific Bouchot grown mussel have reached a historical peak, selling at nearly EUR 5 per kg.
Italian imports of mussels reached a record high in 2014 with 43 900 tonnes imported, a 23% increase compared with 35 800 tonnes, the annual average in the six year period (2009-2014). Spain, the major supplier, lost significant market share falling from 70% in 2009 to 53% in 2014. Greece, the second supplier to Italy, maintained its position and market share over the six year period, while Chile quickly grew as a supplier from 2012 onwards, capturing 18% of the market share in 2014.
2014 Spanish imports of mussels stabilized at about 20 000 tonnes, which is the exact annual average during the six year period. Chile has been the dominant supplier since the beginning of the period and continued in this position taking a 60% market share in 2014. Italy, the far second supplier, took a 20% market share in 2014.
During September-November of 2014, the coast of Ireland was impacted by a bloom of common and toxic algae, dynophysis, or more commonly known as red tide. Affected mussels were unfit for human consumption and therefore could not be harvested until they naturally spawned in March. This resulted in a halt in sales, which directly impacted two dozen companies, which employ some 200 workers.
In January 2015, the US supermarket, Whole Foods, launched a comprehensive set of standards for farmed bivalve molluscs, which will cover all oysters, mussels, clams and scallops sold in Whole Foods stores. This third party audited label will be promoted to consumers and ensures that all of these molluscs comply with specific criteria (no pesticides, water quality monitored, coastal environment protected and farm to store traceability).
According to, Chile exported 61 421 tonnes of mussels (Mytilus chilensis) in the first 11 months of 2014, a volume that represents a slight decrease of 1.4% compared with exports in the same period of 2013 (62 263 tonnes). Notably, in January 2015, Chile sent abroad 4 144 tonnes, a volume that represents an increase of 47% compared with exports from the first month of 2014 (2 197 tonnes).

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