GLOBEFISH - Information and Analysis on World Fish Trade

Shrimp - March 2014


Worldwide shortfall of farmed shrimp supply, record high export prices and lesser imports in traditional markets for 2013.

Global production of farmed shrimp for the first three quarters of 2013 was much lower than in previous years due to the Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) in Asia and in Latin America. Production remained much below 2012 volumes in China, Thailand and Mexico. Increased production did occur in Indonesia, Viet Nam and India, however this was unable to offset the significant declines in production in Thailand, China and Malaysia. Consequently, shrimp prices remained record high worldwide and affected consumption in the traditional developed markets such as Japan, the USA and the EU. Supply shortfalls in East and Southeast Asia prompted strong inter-regional imports as well as imports from Ecuador for domestic re-processing and consumption.


2013 aquaculture production trends were mixed in Asia and Latin America. The EMS disease first surfaced in China in 2009 and spread into Thailand, Malaysia and Viet Nam in the subsequent years. In 2013, EMS devastated the Thai shrimp aquaculture sector, bringing down the country’s annual farmed shrimp production by half compared with production in 2012. During the fourth quarter of 2013, EMS also surfaced sporadically in an Indian vannamei farming area. However, the Ministry of Agriculture announced “no outbreak‘ of the disease in the country.

The estimated 2013 farmed shrimp production suggests that China produced less than 1 million tonnes, in which vannamei production was estimated to be 600 000 tonnes. Affected by EMS, production in Thailand was estimated at 250 000 tonnes, which is 50% lower than the volume in 2012. With these volumes, Thailand ranked fifth in global farmed shrimp production for 2013.

Increased production was reported in Indonesia, producing an estimate of more than 600 000 tonnes. The government of Viet Nam also reported substantial increases with a total estimated volume in 2013 at 548 000 tonnes. This increase is despite the fact that 80% of shrimp farms in the Mekong Delta, the largest shrimp farming area in the country, were affected by EMS and faced inadequate bank loans. India also reported higher volumes in 2013 than 2012 at 320 000–340 000 tonnes.

Raw material shortages in Southeast Asian export processing industries were met through imported shrimp, particularly from Ecuador and India, with frozen shrimp imports noted at record high levels in Viet Nam. China’s imports for domestic consumption also increased.

In Latin America, Ecuador is the only country producing large volume. Overall production in Mexico has substantially decreased due to EMS and in 2013 could have been as low as 55 000 tonnes compared with 100 300 tonnes in 2012 (-45%). Within the two large farming states, Sonora and Sinaloa, the former area is more affected and production is estimated to be 66% lower. The decline in Sinaloa is estimated to be 30–40% lower in 2013 than the previous year. 

Landings from capture fisheries

In the USA, the 2013 cumulative landings from January 2013 until November 2013 were at a three year low at 49 205 tonnes), which is 1.4% below the same period in 2012. Following general market trends, the average ex-vessel price in November 2013 (USD 5.34/lb) was 40% higher than in November 2012.

Catches of cold water shrimp in Norway were lower in 2013 than 2012.

For Argentine red shrimp, landings were stable through 2013 including good catches in November and December.

Ex-farm shrimp price was incredibly high in Southeast Asia

In Thailand, the ex-farm price of vannamei shrimp during 2013 increased by 42–50% compared with 2012. 70 pieces per kg of fresh, head-on, shell-on shrimp were sold at baht 270 per kg in 2013 compared with baht 180–190 per kg in 2012. With frozen shell-on shrimp exports becoming uneconomical for the export processing industry, processors focused more on value-added exports products to the traditional markets Japan, the USA and Europe.

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