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GLOBEFISH - Analysis and information on world fish trade

Moderate and positive production trends for farmed shrimp


The report analyses the market situation until May 2017.

Summer demand has been good in the Western markets. The large US and EU markets are awaiting price adjustment as supplies improve in the coming months. Good demand in East Asia also attracts supplies from producing countries.


Current supplies of vannamei shrimp are dominated by India, where the full-scale harvests started in June and consisted of large sizes (13/15 and 16/20). Moreover, the official report confirmed that Indian vannamei production reached 406 000 tonnes in 2016, with a total harvest of 500 000 tonnes of farmed shrimp in that year.

During the first half of 2017, persistent white spot disease in many areas in Indonesia resulted in emergency harvests of smaller shrimp, affecting exports.

Production in Thailand has been stable from January to June this year but with a slower rise in supply because of early onset of monsoon in May. Supplies are expected to improve from July onwards, with the target to achieve a 5 percent growth in 2017 against last year's 250 000 tonnes harvest.

Shrimp production in Malaysia has been lower this year due to the Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) disease; imports increased by 25 percent during January-March from Thailand and India to supplement local demand and export processing of value added products. Supported by good domestic demand, retail price of fresh head-on vannamei (40/60 pieces per kg) remains high in Malaysia at US$10.00-12.00/kg.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Viet Nam, shrimp production during January-May 2017 reached 144 000 tonnes, an increase of 46 percent compared with the same period last year. However, high imports of frozen shrimp from Ecuador and India also continue in Viet Nam.

In Latin America (Ecuador, Mexico and others), farmers entered the low production season since March; current prices are firm for medium and smaller size shrimp. Last year, farmed shrimp production in Ecuador reached 450 000 tonnes.

Capture fishery

During January-April 2017, US shrimp landings from the Gulf of Mexico were at a 16-year high, at 7 122 tonnes compared with 6 037 tonnes in the same period last year. Subsequently, ex-vessel prices of medium and small shrimp weakened in April 2017 by 10-15 percent over last year.
In Argentina, catches were strong at the start of the shrimp fishing season which opened on 19 May 2017. The dominant sizes in catches were 20/30, followed by 10/20 and 30/40. Prices of large shrimp were almost the same as the one of smaller sizes. Demand in Asia remains strong, especially in Japan, even though Chinese buyers have been conservative to some extent. Imports from Argentina fell by 61 percent during the first quarter of 2017, compared with the same period in 2016.

Export summary

The Lunar New Year celebration in January/February and spring festivals in April/May in East Asia kept international shrimp trade steady during the first quarter of 2017, even though farmed shrimp production was seasonally low during that period.

With a 34 percent rise in sales volume (96 921 tonnes), India was the top exporter, closely followed by Ecuador (93 370 tonnes, +17 percent). Exports from both these countries to East Asian markets of Viet Nam, Japan and China, as well as to the United States of America increased during this period; Ecuador's exports to the EU were higher supported by its duty-free status, although total shrimp imports in the EU declined during the first quarter of the year, against the same period in 2016.

Import summary

During the first quarter of 2017, shrimp imports faltered in the traditional Western markets of the United States of America (-1 percent) and of the EU (-6 percent) compared with the same period last year. However, strong Lunar New Year demand in East Asian markets during January/February was the factor that supported good trading during the first quarter of 2017. There were higher imports in Viet Nam, China (direct imports from Canada, India, Greenland and through border trade with Viet Nam) and Malaysia, where local consumption remained high during January/February. Import trends were positive in Japan (+5 percent), Canada (+ 2 percent), Russian Federation (+7 percent), South Africa (+13 percent) during this period compared with the same period last year.


During January-May 2017, the overall shrimp consumption trend remained positive in the Japanese market. Demand for both raw and processed shrimp was good from the retail and catering trades during the high consumption period of the cherry blossom season in April and the Golden Week festivals in May. There were higher imports (+2 percent) during the first quarter of 2017, as traders procured stocks to cater to the festival demand in April and May. The market imported 46 000 tonnes of shrimp during this period, in which 30 percent was high-value processed shrimp; the top suppliers were Viet Nam, Thailand, Indonesia and India.

United States of America

Since last year, consumer demand for shrimp has improved in the US market compared with other seafood, supported by a good supply and stable wholesale prices of shrimp. In comparison, prices of other popular seafood (salmon, mahi, king crab) have increased considerably.

Total shrimp imports during January-March 2017, however, against the lower (-0.65 percent) than during the same period in 2016, which could be attributed to a 9 percent decline in frozen shell-on shrimp imports, particularly the large sizes. US imports from India increased by 33 percent and from Indonesia by 6 percent during this period. Imports of frozen, raw, peeled shrimp were also lower because of high inventories in the market, but increased for breaded shrimp by 4 percent during the review period.

It is also interesting to note that there were 200 tonnes of fresh head-on shrimp imports (mainly from Ecuador and China) during the first quarter of 2017. The current retail price of fresh head-on vannamei is US$5.99/lb in the United States of America, which are generally available in Asian-style supermarkets that have seen consumer demand for fresh shrimp. 


Shrimp imports in EU-28 were at a five-year low during the first quarter of 2017. Out of the total supply of imported shrimp in the common market, 75 percent came from third counties. Among the individual markets in the EU, imports increased marginally in Spain (+5 percent) and France (+3 percent); in the other markets, large and small, the trends were negative compared with the same period in 2016.

The share of processed shrimp in total EU imports of shrimp also declined to 19 percent compared with the 21 percent share noted a year ago, indicating unsold local stocks in the distribution chain. However, there were increased imports of value-added shrimp (HS code 1605) from Viet Nam, which are subject to lower import duty compared with products coming from Thailand or India.

Outside the EU, import trends were positive in Norway (+41 percent; 3 500 tonnes) and in Switzerland (+17 percent; 1 750 tonnes) during the review period. Shrimp demand in the Russian Federation has improved this year compared with 2016, and imports increased by 7 percent, at over 8 000 tonnes during January–March 2017, in favour of exports from Ecuador, India and Argentina.


In general, consumer demand for fresh shrimp in most of the East Asian markets remains strong this year, at high prices. For example, in Malaysia, where the per capita fishery consumption remained high at 60 kg in the recent years, current retail price of fresh vannamei (40/60 pieces/kg) range from US$10.00- 12.00/kg. Imports are on the rise to compensate for local supply gaps. In Thailand, shrimp industry leaders have started to consider developing domestic trade that absorbs 12-15 percent of total shrimp production of the country. Malaysia remains an attractive market to Thai fresh shrimp exporters.

The largest Asian market China continues to source foreign shrimp through border trade with Viet Nam. Direct imports of cold-water shrimp also increased from Canada and Greenland during the first quarter of 2017. Direct imports of vannamei shrimp were up by 31 percent from India during this period.

In addition, strong imports of raw frozen shrimp for re-exports continue in Viet Nam; supplies increased by 42 percent from Ecuador and 57 percent from India during January–March 2017 to this market compared with the same period last year. During January–May 2017, fishery imports in Viet Nam totalled US$508 million, a 28 percent rise over the same period in 2016.


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