Portugal: The Portuguese Seafood Sector
In 2019, total catches of fishery products were valued at $361 million. The steady growth of total national catches over the last few years is driven, among other factors, by domestic consumption. Portugal is the country with the highest fish consumption in the European Union. Portuguese consumers regard seafood as a healthy food and as a key component of many traditional dishes. The aquaculture sector is also growing. Throughout the pandemic, demand for cheaper fish species, frozen and processed fish increased. This reflects the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and consumers’ interest for convenience foods. These are consumer trends likely to continue after the pandemic. In 2019, total seafood imports were valued at $2.6 billion, while exports totaled $1.3 billion. Portugal’s fish trade balance has been negative for decades, and importing needs are likely to remain in the foreseeable future. The following is a commissioned report prepared in collaboration with Arcadia International.