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Exports of fishery goods down 7.4% in 2020 on pandemic fallout

Fishery products (Yonhap)
Fishery products (Yonhap)
South Korea's exports of fishery products moved down 7.4 percent on-year in 2020, data showed Thursday, as people around the globe refrained from dining out amid the new coronavirus pandemic, leading to weaker demand for tuna and other popular goods.

Outbound shipments of fishery goods reached $2.3 billion last year, down from $2.5 billion posted in 2019, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

The decrease was largely attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, which limited operations of restaurants around the globe.

The ministry, however, pointed out that exports of processed goods such as dried laver, fish cakes and other canned products gathered ground as more people enjoyed them at home.

Exports of seasoned laver advanced 12.9 percent on-year in 2020, while those of fish cakes climbed 2 percent. Shipments of canned fishery goods also jumped 10.2 percent over the cited period.

The combined exports of laver products especially shot up to reach an all-time high of $600 million, standing as the key product.

Dried laver, called "gim" in Korean, is usually roasted with sesame oil and fine salt and served as a side dish with Korean meals.

While processed fishery goods accounted for 40 percent of the total shipments in 2019, the portion expanded to 45 percent last year.

"Due to the foreign exchange volatility and the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the falling volume of catches, South Korea is anticipated to continue to face challenges in exports of fishery products," the ministry said in a statement.

South Korea will continue to develop customized products for different markets around the globe while sparing no efforts to support exporters throughout 2021, it added.

Exports of Asia's No. 4 economy, meanwhile, decreased 5.4 percent in 2020 from the previous year amid the new coronavirus pandemic, but the decline was partially cushioned by the latest recovery in the outbound shipments of chips. (Yonhap)