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A review of global oyster aquaculture production and consumption

Marine Policy 117 (2020) 103952
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Marine Policy
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A review of global oyster aquaculture production and consumption
Robert Botta a, *, Frank Asche b, c, J. Scott Borsum a, Edward V. Camp b
School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fl, USA
Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Gainesville, Fl, USA
Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fl, USA
Oyster farming is one of the oldest forms of aquaculture and oysters are farmed around the globe. As with
aquaculture in general, oyster aquaculture production has increased rapidly in recent decades. Despite this,
global trends in this production and its markets have received limited attention. This paper presents an overview
of global oyster aquaculture production at a country-scale, as well as factors influencing the observed trends.
Currently, global oyster aquaculture production is dominated by China, who accounted for 86% of global pro­
duction by weight in 2016. Beyond China, production is stagnant, and is limited by disease, parasites, and
regulatory issues, depending on the country. There appears to be increasing demand for farmed oysters that
producers are not able to exploit due to the supply side issues that have limited total production. Additionally, a
test for market integration found that there is no global market. Hence, while the increasing prices in some
markets provides an opportunity, this is exploited only to a limited extent with Canadian exports to the United
States as the best example.
1. Introduction
Global aquaculture production has grown dramatically over the past
50 years, and now accounts for more than 50% of the world’s fish food
supply [1,2]. Aquaculture is predicted to continue expanding to meet
the constantly growing global demand for seafood [3]. One of the more
valuable sectors of aquaculture, but which receives less attention than
finfish and shrimp in discussions of increased aquaculture production, is
mollusks. Mollusks are the second largest category of farmed seafood by
both quantity and value, accounting for 21% of all global aquaculture
production by weight in 2016 [1]. The leading molluscan species by
quantity produced is oysters, which have one of the longest cultured
histories and remains cultured on all continents, excluding Antarctica
[1,4]. Despite the longevity and spatial extent of oyster aquaculture,
systematic reviews of factors influencing oyster aquaculture production
and markets are lacking, which itself may hinder insights into the future
of oyster production.
Various forms of oyster aquaculture have been around for a long
time, dating back over two millennia [4]. Greek philosophers Aristotle
(384 BC – 322 BC) and Xenocrates (396 BC – 314 BC) noted the cultural
preference and value of oysters. They highlighted different harvest
strategies, including transferring oysters from areas of abundance to
locations where they grew faster and tasted better [5]. After the Roman
conquest around 150 BC, Romans inherited the Greek cultural and
culinary value of oysters [6]. According to preserved vases and historical
texts, ancient Romans utilized hanging culture methods to further con­
trol the growth process of oysters [4]. As the Roman empire expanded,
transcontinental oyster transportation became an important factor in
incentivizing production and creating larger regional markets. Oysters
were transported from natural beds to saltwater lakes along coastal
southern Italy to create artificial reefs that were more easily harvested
and provided a more consistent quality [7]. Elsewhere, oyster farming
was recorded in China as early as the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD),
further highlighting how widespread oyster cultivation was [8,9].
While oysters have been cultured for millennia around the world,
oyster aquaculture production has not generally been stable at any
location, as periodic failures have been common. Cultured oyster failure
is most often linked to disease and parasitic outbreaks. A common tool to
address this challenge is the introduction of new oyster species, a tool
that also have led to invasive species and disease challenges. This is best
documented in France. The European flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) was
driven to extremely low levels in the nineteenth century due to a com­
bination of overfishing and parasites that included Marteilia refringens
and Bonamia ostrae [10]. In response to the flat oyster decline, the
* Corresponding author. 103 Black Hall, Gainesville, Fl, 32611, PO Box 116455, USA.
E-mail address: Botta822@ufl.edu (R. Botta).
Received 19 July 2019; Received in revised form 11 March 2020; Accepted 13 March 2020
Available online 20 March 2020
0308-597X/© 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
R. Botta et al.
Marine Policy 117 (2020) 103952
Even before these recent improvements, aquaculture was the primary
method of producing oysters globally, having overtaken wild harvest as
early as 1952 (Fig. 1). Wild landings have declined throughout the time
period for which data are available and are relatively unimportant for
current, overall global production. However, wild harvest still retains
importance in some markets, particularly in the U.S., the largest oyster
fishing nation.
The increases in global oyster aquaculture production is similar to
aquaculture production for other species, suggesting that oyster aqua­
culture is an integral part of the blue revolution. This growth has been
attributed to several facilitating factors, including increased demand
caused by population and economic growth, relaxed regulatory frame­
work, and expanding export opportunities [20]. This is largely in line
with the factors that have influenced growing aquaculture production of
all species. However, the possible exception for oyster aquaculture lies
within the lack of technological advancements that promote production
growth and minimize disease risk, which have characterized produc­
tivity growth for many successful species [21–23]. Interestingly, as this
paper will demonstrate, the impact of these factors has largely occurred
only in China.
The changes in global oyster aquaculture production, as well as very
different developments in various regions, make it interesting to
examine these factors more closely. A better understanding of oyster
aquaculture production on a regional basis provides necessary insights
into the role that aquaculture will play in the future by understanding
which countries are driving supply and demand, the market’s stability,
and what may allow for successful long-term production. This paper will
investigate trends seen in top producing countries in terms of production
weight and value to gain these insights.
French introduced the Portuguese cupped oyster (Crassostrea angulata)
in 1925, which was then decimated by “gill disease” between 1970 and
1973 [11,67]. During this Portuguese cupped oyster mortality event,
another species, the Pacific cupped oyster (Crassostrea gigas), was im­
ported from Japan and Canadian breeders to form broodstock for culture
operations [11,12]. This species introduction led to cultured oyster
production increases and quick success in the domestic French market,
and the Pacific cupped oyster today remains the most common com­
mercial species in the European markets, but it has also largely brought
the European flat oyster close to extinction in many areas. Along the U.S.
Pacific west coast, the Pacific cupped oyster was introduced in response
to declining populations of the native Olympia oysters (Ostrea lurida) in
the 1920s so it could become an established species that could be har­
vested [13–15]. In response to the success of the introduction of this
species, the U.S. east coast then followed suit, introducing Pacific oysters
that were originally from Japan. However, these oysters were already
infected with parasites, which led to major mortality events of the east
coast’s native Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) and the Pacific oys­
ters establishing themselves as an invasive species also outside of the
oyster farms [9,16].
It’s evident that the introduction of nonnative species to combat
disease has been ineffective on long time scales, as it has been used as a
temporary fix to the larger problems seen in oyster aquaculture. In
addition to the spread of disease, introducing nonnative species has
allowed for the spread of genetic material, especially in the case of
C. gigas, which has led to native species being outcompeted [15].
Although there has been a suite of technological advancements within
oyster aquaculture, there has been an inability to combat disease that
have limited the sustainability of production at any location. Scientific
research gaps have created uncertainties of the source of these diseases,
while inefficient governance has failed to properly regulate production
methods and growing locations. Thus, these two issues have been cited
as the main factors preventing proper disease management within oyster
aquaculture [10].
Although many countries have had difficulty maintaining long-term
oyster aquaculture production of all oyster species, production on a
global scale has been rapidly increasing since 1950, the first year for
which data is available (Fig. 1).
The rapid changes in global oyster production have only occurred
recently, specifically increasing fivefold since 1990. The rapid increase
can be attributed to recent innovations within the aquaculture industry.
Advances in larval culture techniques within hatcheries has increased
the production capacity of artificial breeding of juvenile oysters,
reducing reliance on natural seed sources [17]. Of particular importance
was the introduction of triploid oysters, which do not reproduce and
instead devote their energy toward growth. This results in reduced time
to market, superior meat quality, and year-round harvestability [18,19].
2. Global oyster aquaculture production
Currently, oyster aquaculture is heavily dominated by Asia, which
comprised 95% of the global oyster aquaculture production by weight
and 88% by value in 2016. This closely resembles production statistics
for all aquaculture species, in which Asia comprised 92% of global
production by weight and 85% by value in 2016 [1]. This represents a
substantial shift in global oyster aquaculture production, as Asia only
made up 22% of the production weight in 1950. While Asia would
produce the most oyster aquaculture of any continent even if China was
excluded [1], China is responsible for most of the growth in the region
(Fig. 2).
China accounts for most of the world’s oyster aquaculture produc­
tion with 86% of the production by weight and 78% by value [1]. There
are a variety of oyster species that are cultured, but the primary species
include the Suminoe oyster (C. ariakensis), the Zhe oyster (C. plicatula),
and the Pacific cupped oyster (C. gigas) [24]. It’s important to note that
there is confusion over how some of the cultured oyster species are
classified taxonomically, which has led to discrepancies among data
Fig. 1. Global oyster production by production method, in terms of production
weight [1].
Fig. 2. Oyster aquaculture production in terms of production weight [1].
R. Botta et al.
Marine Policy 117 (2020) 103952
tonnes1 in 2016 [1].2 and. However, oyster aquaculture production in
France has on average been slowly declining at 0.05% per annum since
1950 to present, albeit with substantial inter-annual variation [1].
Recently, declines in production have been exacerbated by large mor­
tality events caused by infectious disease outbreaks since 2008 [10],
with cultured production declining at 5.82% per annum from 2008
through 2016 [1].
France employs three main methods for oyster aquaculture,
including on-bottom culture in the intertidal zone or deep water, offbottom culture in plastic mesh bags in the intertidal zone, and sus­
pended culture (a type of longline culture that allows oyster bags to float
on the surface of the water) on ropes in the open sea [11]. Oyster spat
used for aquaculture is collected from natural reefs and hatcheries [11].
All oyster spat from hatcheries are triploids [28], but only comprises of
approximately 15–20% of total oyster aquaculture production [11].
Disease outbreaks have compromised much of the spat collection from
natural reefs. To combat this France has introduced new oyster species.
The most recent introduced species, C. gigas, has experienced mortality
events, which may limit future production as there appear to be no other
oyster species that can be introduced and cultured within French waters
to make up for the associated decline in production.
The introduction of C. gigas has led to the formation of dense reefs in
areas where they breed naturally, which alter biodiversity and act as
sediment traps by slowing bottom water flow [29]. These reefs have also
placed pressure on the native oyster species, O. edulis, by competing for
available habitat. These environmental impacts may be lessened by
increasing suspended culture production as well as shifting more to­
wards collecting spat from hatcheries [29]. Despite this, additional
negative environmental impacts may be expected, as can be seen by the
rapid spread of C. gigas throughout Europe, which has displaced native
species and habitats [14,30–34].
Despite declining production, French demand for oysters remains
strong. In France, the oyster plays a large cultural role in which it is
considered a luxury product [11] that has been traditionally and pri­
marily supplied by domestic production [35]. Though domestic cultured
oyster production has been declining, demand has remained strong, as
the price per unit of farmed oysters has increased during most of the
period with declining production (Fig. 4).
Even though there has been some price correction since 2011, this
supports the notion that there is still a high demand for French farmed
oysters that the current aquaculture production struggles to supply. It is
also of interest to note that the opportunity presented by high prices has
not been exploited by potential exporters.
reporting [25]. Since the 1980s, China has switched from natural seed
collection to artificial seeding techniques through factory hatcheries and
eco-hatcheries in ponds [26]. Longline techniques, which allow oysters
to be grown in deeper water and can increase growth rates, are the
primary method for oyster aquaculture in the shallow seas of northern
China and the mudflats in southern China [26].
China is one of the world’s largest exporters of many aquaculture
species. However, only a relatively limited share of the oysters is traded.
Less than 1% of Chinese farmed oysters were exported in 2016 [1],
which is similar to lower-value finish, like carps [27]. Since most of the
Chinese oyster production remains in China, its oyster exports are su­
perseded by most other oyster-producing countries. This means China
does not have a significant impact on the global oyster aquaculture
market, which instead is affected more by the other oyster farming
countries. Because of this, it is useful to look at the production of the rest
of the world separately from China.
Global aquaculture production of oysters beyond China exhibits a
significantly different growth pattern than the total production (Fig. 3).
Although oyster aquaculture production in the rest of the world has
increased since 1950, the growth rate is 2.09% per annum from 1950 to
2016, in comparison to the 5.18% per annum growth rate when China is
included [1]. While oyster aquaculture production beyond China is
expanding much slower, it has still quadrupled since the 1950s. More
importantly, the growth rate beyond China stagnates to near-zero from
the mid-1980s. These data indicate that oyster aquaculture production
from a production perspective is not part of the aquaculture revolution,
at least beyond China. Hence, the productivity growth that has been the
main engine of the blue revolution [21,22] does not appear to have
occurred to any meaningful extent for oysters.
3. Oyster aquaculture production by country
It is useful to look at oyster aquaculture production beyond China to
understand why oysters have not been part of the blue revolution in
terms of production increase outside of China. After China, the next five
countries of significant oyster aquaculture production are France, U.S.,
South Korea, Japan, and Canada.
3.1. France
France was the world’s largest oyster aquaculture producer until the
1950s and remains the largest for Europe, producing 69,410 metric
3.2. United States of America
The United States is the largest oyster aquaculture producer in North
America, producing 141,027 metric tonnes in 2016 [1]. However, pro­
duction growth has been small, exhibiting an average growth rate of
1.4% per annum between 1950 and 2016. The U.S. mainly cultures two
species, the Eastern oyster and Pacific cupped oyster, but some pro­
duction is focused on culturing Kumamoto oysters (C. sikamea), Euro­
pean flat oysters, and Olympia oysters [36]. Depending on the region,
the U.S. employs both on-bottom and off-bottom culture methods. Most
production comes from on-bottom methods that directly plant oyster
seed, use mesh bags or rack bag systems [36]. However, there has been
an increase in production that utilizes floating and hanging culture
methods [36].
There have been growing opportunities for increased oyster aqua­
culture growth in the United States. Shifting market demand away from
Fig. 3. Oyster aquaculture production of top producing countries, excluding
China, in terms of production weight [1].
All production weights are measured in live weights of oysters, which in­
cludes shell and meat weight.
Ireland and the United Kingdom follow France, but production weights are
comparably miniscule (8016 and 2188 metric tonnes in 2016, respectively) [1].
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Marine Policy 117 (2020) 103952
exported 82% of all farmed oyster products to the U.S. in 2016 [45]. The
shift in product demand has created the opportunity for countries, such
as Mexico and Canada, to expand oyster aquaculture while taking
advantage of the available market within the U.S. However, wild oys­
termen also face new competitors, as frozen and canned Asian oyster
products accounted for approximately 63% of all imported product by
weight in 2016 [45].
3.3. South Korea
South Korea is the second largest producer of farmed oysters glob­
ally, producing 298,973 metric tonnes in 2016 [1]. Production has been
increasing rapidly since 1950, exhibiting an average growth rate of
12.71% per annum between 1950 and 2016 [1]. Oyster aquaculture
production is focused primarily on the Pacific cupped oyster [46]. Much
of the early growth can be attributed to the introduction of suspended
culture techniques in the 1960s, which enable oyster farmers to extend
their farming areas from intertidal areas to deeper waters to combat
issues associated with overstocking [47]. However, since the 1990s,
production has remained stable and South Korea may be unable to
further expand their oyster aquaculture industry due to environmental
conditions. Because of the intensive nature of oyster longline culture,
there has been increased anoxia on sea beds due to accumulation of
pseudo faeces from suspended oysters [47]. To combat this, South
Korea’s regional office of marine extension and the oyster longline
culture cooperatives have worked towards properly managing oyster
farms and locations of longlines [47]. Additionally, the government has
enabled a successful aquaculture industry with the aquaculture pro­
motion policy and capture fishery fleet reduction program [48]. This
growth has allowed South Korea the opportunity to enter markets such
as those in the United States. In 2016, South Korean farmed oyster
products accounted for approximately 20% of all oyster products by
weight that were imported into the U.S [45]. Despite its role in the U.S.
oyster market, only about 3% of all cultured oysters were exported in
2016 [1]. Similar to China, most of what is produced remains domestic,
suggesting that although South Korea produces the second largest
number of cultured oysters globally, most of their production does not
impact the global market.
Fig. 4. Price per unit weight (2018 USD) of aquaculture oysters for top pro­
ducing countries [1].
shucked products (e.g., shucked oyster meat used in canning) towards
premium oyster products (e.g., raw oysters on the half shell for restau­
rants) and declining harvest from wild oyster reefs has created a market
opportunity that cultured oysters can exploit. Oyster aquaculture has
been suggested as a solution for the declines in wild oyster fishing.
Although the U.S. is one of the few countries with a substantial wild
oyster fishery with a focus on tonging and dredging natural reefs, recent
declines in reef habitat have exhausted some of the larger oyster fishing
areas. Historically prominent wild fishing areas, such Chesapeake Bay
on the mid-Atlantic coast [37,38], and Apalachicola Bay on the northern
Gulf of Mexico [39] and have experienced large declines in oysters due
to a variety of factors, such as changing water or habitat quality and
overfishing. An increase in aquaculture production may supplement the
production of wild oysters for the seafood market and provide a method
to decrease fishing pressure while still providing jobs and income [40].3
Although there have been growing opportunities for increased oyster
aquaculture growth, the oyster industry is exposed to the same factors
that are inhibiting aquaculture growth of all species in the U.S. Limited
aquaculture lease zones, start-up costs, and maintenance costs are some
of the biggest factors inhibiting production growth [40,41]. In addition,
oyster aquaculture faces significant social opposition [42], primarily
due to push back from waterfront owners who do not want farms near
their homes, as well as wild oystermen who do not want increased
competition. These negative views towards oyster aquaculture have
made expansion difficult in some regions of the U.S. There has been an
increase in demand for half-shell oysters, which increased aquaculture
production only has partly met. Since oyster aquaculture production
surpassed wild oyster landings (in 2000), the price per unit of oysters has
nearly doubled (Fig. 4). Additionally, there has been an increase in
imported live/fresh farmed oysters used in the half-shell market im­
ported primarily from Canada, but also from Mexico and South Korea.
This indicates that U.S. oyster aquaculture is another example that
aquaculture production often creates new markets rather than out­
competing traditional wild supply in existing markets [43]. This may be
because farmed production is more market oriented [44].
The U.S. is the main consumer of both Mexican and Canadian farmed
oysters. Although Mexican production is quite small,4 98% of all farmed
oyster products were exported to the U.S. in 2016 [45]. Canadian oyster
aquaculture production is larger than Mexican production.5 Canada
3.4. Japan
Japan is the third largest oyster aquaculture producer globally,
producing 158,925 metric tonnes in 2016 [1]. Production increased
rapidly until the mid-1960s, after which production stagnated and has
since been slowly declining. The main oyster species that are cultured
include the Pacific cupped oyster and the Iwagaki oyster (C. nippona)
[49]. Originally, the primary method of oyster aquaculture was seabed
sowing cultivation, but this was limited to the tidelands of the Seto
Inland Sea [50]. However, since the implementation of suspended cul­
ture in the early 1950s, Japanese aquaculture has been able to expand
past the tidelands into offshore areas [50]. The most recent declines can
be associated with the Great East Japan earthquake and the resulting
tsunami that occurred in 2011, which led to substantial damage to
oyster farms and a prevalent Norovirus pollution problem [51]. Addi­
tionally, the area devastated by the earthquake and tsunami was the
second largest producer of oyster seed used for oyster farming coun­
trywide [51,52]. In response to the damage and lack of oyster seed,
many farmers ceased operations, which has led to a decrease in demand
for Japanese oysters, to the extent that many hotels and high-class res­
taurants have removed oysters from their menus [51]. Despite this, there
have been many efforts to move towards management practices within
oyster aquaculture. In 2016, the Miyagi Prefecture Fisheries Cooperative
was the first producer in Japan to achieve Aquaculture Stewardship
Council (ASC) certification [53]. This, in concert with disaster response
efforts, suggest that there is still demand for a high quality, safe oyster
product. This may allow the domestic oyster aquaculture industry the
[61] provides a model showing how increased aquaculture production
limits fishing effort [62]. provide an example where the aquaculture industry
grows in the same region as a response to overfishing, while [63] show how
increased aquaculture production in other countries can limit fishing effort due
to international trade.
Mexico produced 5932 metric tonnes in 2016 [1].
Canada produced 13,824 metric tonnes in 2016 [1].
R. Botta et al.
Marine Policy 117 (2020) 103952
opportunity to expand to production levels seen before the earthquake.
The Japanese industry is focused on the domestic market, and less than
1% of the production is exported [1].
5. Market integration
In recent decades, increased trade has made the seafood market
global for most species, as seafood has become the most highly traded
food category [56]. A number of studies investigating market integra­
tion for specific species or groups of species report that there is a global
market for most species’ groups, but that the markets for different spe­
cies groups are not integrated [56]. In a global market, the price
development over time is similar in all regions, even though there may
be differences in price levels due to transportation costs and quality
differences, as a shortage in one region is corrected by increases in im­
ports from other regions. However, there are exceptions as discussed by
Bjørndal and Guillen [57].8 Factors that may prevent market integration
include high transportation costs leading to a lack of trade or differences
in product characteristics. The main tool used in the literature to
investigate the degree of market integration is to investigate the rela­
tionship between the prices of different markets. There are three po­
tential outcomes; no market integration when prices are not related to
each other, imperfect market integration when prices influence each
other so that there is a common price determination process, and full
market integration when the Law of One Price (LOP) holds so that the
prices are proportional over time [58].
Fig. 4 shows unit prices adjusted for inflation (2018 USD) based on
the FAO [1] production statistics. The price is highest in France in most
years, but it is generally difficult to see any trends. It is also worthwhile
to note that only for China, the only country with strongly increasing
production, is a downward trending price observed. This is in line with
trends seen in other successful aquaculture species. Finally, there is an
increasing trend in the price after the turn of the millennium in all
countries. The results of market integration tests are reported in
Table 1.9
The results from the market integration tests indicate that the oyster
market is quite different from the markets of other seafood species such
as salmon, shrimp, and whitefish in that there is not a global market, but
rather segmented markets where prices are determined independently
based on local production and demand. This result may not be very
3.5. Canada
Although Canada is not a top producing country on a global scale,
production growth has steadily increased, with current production
nearly triple that of 1950, producing 13,824 metric tonnes in 2016 [1].
Canada cultures both the Pacific cupped oyster and the Eastern oyster,
depending on the region [59]. Oyster aquaculture in Canada primarily
emphasizes producing a premium product sold in the half-shell market
by utilizing varying longline techniques, including suspended culture,
floating rafts, and buoys [54]. Approximately 22% of Canadian cultured
oysters were exported in 2016 [1,48]. The increased demand for pre­
mium half-shell oysters in the U.S. has given Canada the opportunity to
expand their industry and exploit the American market. The large share
of exported product to the United States indicates that there is a strong
American demand for Canadian farmed oysters. Additionally, the price
per unit weight of farmed oysters has been steadily increasing since the
early 2000s (Fig. 4). The Canadian oyster aquaculture industry can be
expected to continue expanding due to the U.S.‘s inability to meet their
increased demand for premium oyster products as well as the ability to
trade at relatively lower costs.
4. Trade and prices
The oyster aquaculture industry and its markets are highly diverse.
North American and European countries primarily focus on farming
oysters to be sold in the raw, half-shell market, receiving a higher price
per unit weight than oyster products that are sold in other markets (e.g.,
shucked meat, clumps for char-grilling).6 On the other hand, Asian
countries, including China, focus on shucked meat products used in
canning and frozen meals as well as for oyster sauce. While a very
limited share of the Asian production is traded, these countries still play
an important role in the limited trade of oysters, and are the leading
exporters of shucked products to the U.S.7 Asian oyster products
accounted for approximately 63% of all oyster products that were im­
ported to the U.S. in 2016, with most of the products being canned
oysters [45]. Although these imports made up a large share of the U.S.
oyster imports, they only accounted for approximately 7% of all Asian
exports of oyster products [1].
Beyond shucked exports, there appears to be a limited global market
for farmed oyster products. This can be partially attributed to the em­
bargo between France and the U.S., the two largest producers of pre­
mium, half-shell oysters. Since the 1980s, the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) has not permitted the import of live, fresh or
fresh-frozen molluscan shellfish from the European Union (EU) [55]. In
2010, the EU banned U.S. shellfish imports from entering the EU [55].
However, there are procedures underway to allow molluscan shellfish
trade between the U.S. and EU [55], which may allow for more trade of
half-shell oysters between the two regions. Additionally, U.S. producers
appear to have little interest in exploiting international markets, pri­
marily due to the strong domestic demand, as well as the limited ca­
pacity to engage and set up sophisticated methods of trade. Some
exports occur, primarily to Asia. These oyster products are usually of the
larger variety (10–12 inches in shell length), of which there is far less
domestic demand.
Table 1
Johansen cointegration tests.
S. Korea
H0: No integration
H0: Integration
Test statistic
Test statistic
Significant at a 5% level.
Some recent examples are [65,66].
Following standard practices, the market integration tests are carried out on
the logarithms of the prices. As with most price series, Dickey-Fuller tests
indicate that the prices are nonstationary in levels and stationary in first dif­
ferences. Cointegration tests are then the appropriate statistical tool. Given the
relatively short data series, the market integration tests are carried out only by
pairs of prices, with the U.S. price is used as the base price. In all tests, the
number of lags is chosen using Akaike’s Information Criterion, and in all cases,
the null hypothesis of no autocorrelation is rejected using a LM-test. The null
hypothesis of no cointegration or no market integration is rejected in the re­
lationships between the U.S. price and respectively the Canadian and French
price, indicating a common price determination process for these three markets.
Market integration is not complete, though, as the test for full market inte­
gration of the LOP is rejected in both cases. There is no evidence of market
integration between any of the other markets. This is also true for all price pairs
that do not include the U.S. price.
U.S. wild oysters are primarily used for shucked product, with a small share
of U.S. farmed oysters used for shucked product.
The U.S. is the world’s largest seafood importing country by value, with
aquaculture products rapidly becoming more important than wild fisheries
Marine Policy 117 (2020) 103952
R. Botta et al.
surprising given the limited trade that occurs. However, given the
increasing trend in the prices since the turn of the millennium, it is
somewhat surprising that this opportunity is not exploited to any extent
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6. Conclusions
Global oyster aquaculture production appears to have been
increasing at a substantial rate since 1950. However, the true nature of
the growth of this industry is that it is dominated by China. In fact, the
oyster aquaculture industry in other top producing countries has been
unable to replicate China’s success in maintaining long-term stability
and growth, and production has been stable since the 1980s. Much of the
lack of growth from the top producing countries can be attributed to the
supply side of the oyster aquaculture industry. While there is still a large
demand for farmed oysters, and in some cases, an increasing demand as
evidenced by increasing prices even with increased production, pro­
ducers are only to a limited extent (like the U.S.) or not at all (like
France) able to meet this increased demand.
More efficient governance and technological advancements can
combat many of the factors limiting production, such as disease issues
and environmental carrying capacities. Breakthroughs in oyster aqua­
culture production may allow the opportunity for countries to expand
their production, and even allow for new countries to enter the market.
This has already been seen in Canada. Although a smaller player in the
world of oyster aquaculture, Canada has been able to expand their in­
dustry and focus on a product that is in high demand in the U.S. Because
of the U.S.‘s inability to meet the domestic demand for farmed oysters,
trade has been high between the two countries, creating an integrated
market and setting an example for the future market opportunities that
may be available. The strong demand in markets like the U.S. and
France, where prices are increasing, is an opportunity for farmers in
other countries. However, beyond Canada, there are few indications that
this is an opportunity that is exploited today.
CRediT authorship contribution statement
Robert Botta: Conceptualization, Investigation, Data curation,
Writing - original draft, Writing - review & editing, Visualization. Frank
Asche: Methodology, Formal analysis, Writing - review & editing, Su­
pervision, Funding acquisition. J. Scott Borsum: Writing - review &
editing. Edward V. Camp: Writing - review & editing, Supervision,
Funding acquisition.
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