Peru adapts its bivalve mollusc regulations to EU standards

The modification will boost bivalve mollusc extraction activity, which could demand around 12,000 jobs throughout the value chain.
With this regulatory change on bivalve molluscs, the Peruvian Government aims to increase both the number of markets and export volumes, thereby boosting employment in the sector.

With this regulatory change on bivalve molluscs, the Peruvian Government aims to increase both the number of markets and export volumes, thereby boosting employment in the sector.

Photo: Produce.

The Peruvian Ministry of Production (Produce) approved the modifications to the 'Sanitary Standard for Live Bivalve Molluscs', which will regulate the sanitary safety conditions and requirements that bivalve molluscs destined for trade or processing for human consumption must meet. After the changes, the South American country will have a norm equivalent to the standards required by the European Union (EU).

The modifications made to the standards include requirements for extraction and harvesting areas, as well as for aquaculture concessions. More than 300 artisanal fishing social organizations engaged in mariculture for the extraction of bivalve molluscs will benefit from the changes.

This regulatory change in favor of artisanal fishing promoted by the new head of Produce, Sergio Gonzalez, adds to the work of promoting this activity through the improvement of infrastructure started by his predecessor, Ana Maria Choquehuanca, which the new team is continuing with the development of the 'National Plan for Artisanal Fishing Infrastructure'.

González, who took over the Ministry of Production at the beginning of April, said then that promoting fisheries and aquaculture was a priority for the new Peruvian Government.

12,000 jobs as a result of this regulatory change

Regarding the change in the 'Sanitary Standard for Live Bivalve Molluscs', the Minister of Production said that, with these modifications, Peru will comply with the standards required by the European Union.

It should be noted that exports of bivalve molluscs from Peru to the EU represent more than 60% of total exports, with France, Italy, Germany, and Spain being the main European buyers.

"In 2023 we reached 24 markets for a value of USD 82 million (EUR 76 million), representing 4.5% of exports of products for direct human consumption. It is expected that by 2026 we will not only increase the number of markets but also export volumes," said González.

In addition to bringing the Peruvian standard into line with that of the EU, these modifications will allow producers to apply for the inclusion of non-scallops in the list of bivalve molluscs for export to the European Union.

According to Produce's release announcing this regulatory change, the boost these modifications will give to the extractive activity of bivalve molluscs will cause the industry to demand around 12,000 jobs. Specifically, the Ministry estimates that there will be about 3,000 direct jobs and 9,000 more indirect employments distributed throughout the value chain of the extractive fishing activity.

What is the international market for bivalve molluscs?

Regarding the market opportunities that will open up for Peru from now on, Produce claims that, worldwide, the non-canned bivalve mollusc import market represents USD 13,544 million (EUR 12,571 million) FOB - this is 'free onboard', that is, the sale price of the goods shipped to other countries, placed on the means of transport, not including insurance and freight value.

Spain with 16.75%, China with 14.63%, Italy with 11.31%, and the USA with 8.8% are the main consumers. In addition, EU imports of non-scallops bivalve molluscs were around USD 319 million (EUR 296 million) between fresh chilled, frozen and canned products.

According to Produce figures, Peru is currently the world's fifth largest exporter of non-canned bivalve molluscs behind Japan, China, Canada, and the U.S. In 2023, the value of these exports was USD 82.6 million (EUR 76.6 million) FOB, with Spain (30.9%), France (16.0%), South Korea (16.0%), and the U.S. (7-8%), as the main markets.

In terms of exports, in the last five years, the value of overseas sales of bivalve molluscs was more than USD 101 million (EUR 93 million). In 2023, it contributed 4.6% of direct human consumption fishery exports and 2.8% of Peruvian fishery exports.

Once again, Spain, followed by France, South Korea, the United States, Japan, Belgium, Italy, Taiwan, Denmark and Chile were the ten main destination markets. These countries together accounted for 91.2% of Peru's total exports, reaching a value of USD 82.7 million (EUR 76.8 million).

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