Vietnamese lobsters half price as Chinese orders dwindle

By Thi Ha   October 18, 2023 | 06:01 pm PT
Vietnamese lobsters half price as Chinese orders dwindle
An ornate rock lobster bred on a farm in the central province of Phu Yen. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Ky
Diminishing exports to China’s massive market has Vietnamese ornate rock lobsters selling for VND1-1.3 million (US$42-54) a kilogram, half the price of two months ago.

According to lobster harvesters in the central province of Khanh Hoa, prices are at the lowest point in two years.

China is the biggest importer of Vietnamese lobsters.

Lobster vendors in the province said they have decided to stop selling their lobsters or now in hopes prices will spike for the Lunar New Year early next year.

Seafood shops in Ho Chi Minh City are selling ornate rock lobsters for VND1.4-1.7 million per kilogram.

Tuan, a lobster trader, said domestic and overseas demand for seafood is down.

"China currently favors painted spiny lobsters because their prices are lower."

Nguyen An, people’s committee chairman of Cam Binh Commune in the south-central-coastal province of Cam Ranh, said that Vietnam has been mainly exporting painted spiny lobsters to the Chinese market since mid-year, not ornate rock lobsters.

He said this was because Australian ornate rock lobsters are cheaper than Vietnam’s, "so it is difficult to compete in China."

According to the Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, Vietnam exported lobsters worth a total $76 million to China in the first eight months, a year-on-year decline of 42%.

While reducing imports from Vietnam, China is now buying more lobsters from Canada, Australia, the U.S., New Zealand, Cuba, India, Brazil, and Mexico.

According to Vietnamese firms, to boost lobster exports to China, the two countries should agree on official lobster quotas.

A project launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development aims to develop Vietnamese lobster production and exports by 2025, with total output of 3,000 tons per year and annual export turnovers of $200 million.

The largest lobster farming provinces are Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, in the north-central regions, and Kien Giang in the southern region’s Mekong Delta.

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