Croatian Fish More and More Popular Abroad, Export Figures Speak Volumes

Lauren Simmonds

Everyone knows that fish and seafood in general makes up a huge part of the Croatian, particularly Dalmatian and Istrian diets. Fresh fish caught from the sparkling Adriatic sea paired with a domestic wine from grapes grown and harvested from local vineyards is nothing abnormal, but it seems that Croatian fish is becoming a big hit abroad as well as at home.

As Novac writes on the 6th of January, 2020, it would seem that Croatian fish is an increasingly popular delicacy abroad, far beyond not only Croatian and EU borders, as has been evidenced by impressive export figures.

More specifically, in the first eight months of 2019, the Republic of Croatia exported fresh or chilled bluefin tuna worth a massive 31.2 million euros (a whole 2,800 tonnes of it) outside of Croatia’s borders, which is almost in the ranking of total exports in the year 2018 as a whole, reaching 33.9 million euros (or 3,000 tonnes in total).

The total exports of Croatian fish, crustaceans and molluscs back in 2018 amounted to an impressive 170.4 million euros (47,000 tonnes), of which fresh or chilled fish accounted for 108.2 million euros (21,000 tonnes in total).

In addition to tuna, which is a favourite in Japan, the largest exports to the European Union markets are fresh or chilled sea bass (26.4 million euros or 4.300 tonnes), sea bream (23.6 million euros or 3.800 tonnes) sardines (3.6 million euros or 4,500 tonnes) and anchovies (3.5 million euros or 2,200 tonnes).

This encouraging export data clearly shows that the international market recognides the very high quality of Croatian fish that comes from sustainable farming. This quality is promoted by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) through the project “The fish of Croatia – eat your worth”, which aims to encourage citizens to consume fish as often as possible and thus contribute positively to not only this trend but to the development of the Croatian economy as a whole.

By the end of August 2019, Croatia had exported a massive 14,100 tonnes of fresh Croatian fish worth 82.6 million euros. The majority of Croatian aquaculture production is exported to the European Union (Italy, Slovenia, Spain) and as far away as Japan.

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