A Local firm is planning to increase its export of live mantis shrimp to the Chinese market this year, after several shipments proved to be a commercial success in the Chinese market in 2023.

Chea Kimlong, an adviser to Cambodian Tienit International Trading, explained on January 7 that it intends to increase its procurement of the live crustaceans to boost this year’s exports.

He said the nearly 10 shipments of 2023 received a lot of support from the Chinese public, although he acknowledged that some challenges must be addressed before export volumes can be increased.

“The challenge is that when we export successfully, sales increase. When there is high demand from China, our fishermen sell them at a higher price. Since we exported several times in 2023, the price has gone up steadily. When prices grow too high, it hurts our purchasing capacity as they are no longer profitable,” he said.

Another challenge, he added, was that the shrimp could only be caught in the wild, meaning supply could not be guaranteed.

According to Kimlong, his firm intends to export other marine fishery products in the near future.

Khov Kuong, deputy director of the Fisheries Administration (FiA), which operates under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said he had received information from the company regarding the increase in prices. He said the FiA will study the issue carefully.

“If demand increases but supply remains limited, the market will always experience a slight price increase. Problems can arise when brokers begin speculating. We may have to introduce some compromise measures to prevent prices from rising too much,” he explained.

“The export of mantis shrimps – found in our marine fisheries – to China is a great achievement. However, because they are caught in the wild, the FiA has to manage their export carefully, in order to maintain the sustainability of our natural resource,” he said. 

According to the agriculture ministry, Cambodia exported 3,449 tonnes of freshwater fishery products in 2023, equivalent to just 49.27 per cent of the planned 7,000 tonnes, but still a significant increase on the 547 tonnes exported in 2022.

Processed fisheries product exports reached 186 tonnes, up by 145 from 2022.

Separately, marine fisheries output reached 125,500 tonnes, or 96.54 per cent of the planned 130,000 tonnes.