Economic Impact Paper


Possible Ban on Seashell and Marine Export products

Economical Impact


The fishing industry is the main supplier for seashells for the shell and shell craft export business, which are 99 % either a waste product of the food chain or dead collected on beaches.

NSO estimates that there are 1,428,000 individuals working in the fishing industry (Jan. 2008).  That is 4.2% of the total workforce of the Philippines.

BFAR estimates that there are 1,614,368 operators working in the fishing industry.  (2008)

A ban on marine export products will have a direct impact on 4.2% to 5% of the workforce of the Philippines.  Millions of individuals who supply to the shell and shell craft export business will loose additional income due to the proposed ban.



BFAR estimated in a 2009 report that the fisheries industry is good for 2.3% of the Philippine GDP (gross domestic product).   A total ban on marine export products will show a significant dip in the GDP.


Shell and Shell Craft export value

BFAR estimated in 2002 in an unpublished summary report that the shell and shell craft industry exported for 45,444,046$ (Floren, 2003).

The sector estimates that for 2010 between 79,544,000$ and 92,233,000$ has been exported.

As the sector has no exact current data available, we are working with estimates.  BFAR and NSO do not keep separate export data for the shell and shell craft export business.   We hope in the future we can work with BFAR and NSO to add the shell and shell craft business as a separate sector in the statistics.


Supplying the following sectors

The shell and shell craft business supply many sectors with seashells products, like mother of pearl, nacre shells, capiz, etc… which are used in house hold items, jewelry, furniture, fashion accessories, decoration items, etc…

Philexport Cebu 2010 export numbers per sector

  • Costume jewelry exports:                7,973,000 $
  • Fine jewelry exports:                        103,506,000$
  • Furniture exports:                            109,785,000$
  • Holiday décor exports:                     3,097,000$
  • World houseware exports:              11,908,000$
  • Garments exports:                            21,165,000$
  • Total:                                                  257,434,000$

NSO Jan 2011 nation wide export data

  • Travel Goods and Handbags                        4,467,277$
  • Furniture & Fixtures                                     51,336,770$
  • Basketwork, Wickerwork & Other             15,555,236$
  • Non-Metallic Mineral Manufactures        62,416,706$
  • Garments                                                       596,865,082$
  • Total:                                                              730,641,071$

We estimate that the shell and shell craft sector supplies between 5-15% of the raw materials used by those sectors. After wood and metal, we estimate that shell products are within the top 10 of most used raw materials.


Shells in the food industry used for shell craft export business

BFAR published in a 2009, Philippine Fisheries profile, that per capita, the crustaceans and molluscs food consumption is 4kg per year.

NSO estimates that the population of the Philippines in 2010 is 94 million individuals.

A simple calculation makes that the Philippine population consumes about 376,000 metric ton of crustaceans and molluscs food.  We can consider that 30% of this are molluscs food resulting in 112,800 metric ton.

1,552 metric ton of shells are exported by the shell and shell craft industry. (BFAR 2009, profile report)

Shells eaten in the Philippines

Of the estimated 12,000 species of seashells found in the Philippines, 350 shells are only regularly used in the food industry. (Dr. L.V. Loureta, 2008)

Shells exported in the Philippines



A total ban on shell and shell craft products puts the Philippines in an economical disadvantage: for itself and compared to the other Southeast Asian countries.

700 million dollars of exports are affected.

As well as the sustainability of the income of 1.6 million Filipinos is in jeopardy.

Finally the Philippines are at risks of loosing 2.3% of its GDP.

The shell and shell craft business is heavily dependant on the food industry to source its raw materials.  The Philippines produce over 112,800 metric ton of molluscs’ food for local consumption only. The shell and shell craft sector export about 1,552 metric ton.

We see a huge potential for the shell and shell craft export business to tap more in to the resources of the food industry to source raw shells for processing and export.  Instead of banned, the industry should be promoted: only 1 % of the waste products of shells are used today.

Entire sectors which Europe and America exploit for decades, such as the industrial harvest of shells for better egg production, development of extensive oyster breeding, etc. are further possibilities yet untapped for the country.



  • Over 1,500,000 persons work in the fishing industry. (NSO – BFAR)
    This is 4.5 % of the declared workforce in the Philippines.

  • Over 5,000,000 collect shells occasionally for food. (Estimate Shell/Shell Craft Export sector)

  • 2.3 % of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) are from the fish industry. (NSO)

  • Shell export is good for over 70 million dollars a year. (BFAR – Estimate Shell/Shell Craft Export sector)

  • Different sectors that also export and use in part shell-derived products are good for over 730 million dollars of export a year in 2011.
    • (Travel goods and handbags, Furniture, Basketworks, non metallic manufactures and garments) (NSO)

  • In the Philippines shell products are in the top 10 most used raw materials for export. (Estimate Shell/Shell Craft Export sector)

  • The Filipinos eat 112 million kg of shells every year.  (BFAR)

  • Only 350 different species out of 12,000 are eaten. (Dr. L.V. Loureta, 2008)

  • Only 1 % of the waste products of the food chain are used, a huge potential for the future if the governments promotes and further develops the industry.