Farmed shrimp output increased by about 6 percent in 2017


There was a change in market direction from West to East, where China played a strong role in 2017. Local demand in many producing countries was also good and at strong prices.


The global production of farmed shrimp in 2017 was estimated between 2.9–3.5 million tonnes. Nearly 75 to 80 percent of the production originated in Asia-Pacific. In its 2017 annual review, Aqua Culture Asia Pacific magazine reported the production trend for Asia as “expansion and conversion in India, Viet Nam, Indonesia and to a smaller extent the Philippines; recovery in Thailand was disrupted. Production also declined in Malaysia. China’s production continued to decline ”.
Vannamei is farmed now in most Asian countries, except Bangladesh. Some farmers in Viet Nam and Indonesia returned to black tiger farming because of higher financial return, whereas Malaysian farmers moved back to black tiger shrimp to address the early mortality syndrome (EMS) problem. In Latin America, the main producers were Ecuador, Mexico and Brazil, generating more than a total of 700 000 tonnes.

International Trade

An estimated 2.3 million tonnes of shrimp and prawn were imported in the top seven global markets in 2017, approximately 15 percent more than in 2016. Demand in East Asia was stronger in 2017, attracting large volumes of supplies worldwide.


The positive export growth in India and Ecuador resulted directly from an increased domestic production of farmed shrimp, whereas nearly 50 percent of Vietnamese exports consisted of imported shrimp. In 2017, reported shrimp exports from Vietnam to the top 20 destinations, including official exports to China, totalled 264 000 tonnes, representing only a 1.1 percent increase from 2016. However, considering the large re-exports from Viet Nam to China (which comprises 60–70 percent of the imports in Viet Nam), the total shrimp exports from Viet Nam to the global market in 2017 were nearly 25 percent higher, at 530 000 tonnes, compared with 2016. Exports from Indonesia and China declined, due to lower domestic production. Thai exports declined to the major markets except to Japan. Shrimp catches in Argentina reached more than 200 000 tonnes in 2017 and there was an increase of 14.7 percent in exports to 183 300 tonnes, compared with 2016. Exports to Japan increased by 40 percent at 18 000 tonnes and to Viet Nam by 80 percent at 11 400 tonnes. Exports of wild caught prawn from Canada declined by 40 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, due to lower catches. There were increased exports to Viet Nam.


In 2017, shrimp demand was strong in East Asia and in North America, supported by good consumer acceptance of farmed shrimp and steady prices. However, in Europe the market was rather flat. Global imports to the top seven countries (EU28, United States of America, Viet Nam, China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Canada) totalled 2.6 million tonnes in 2017, of which 43 percent (1.12 million tonnes) were imports to four Asian markets (China, Viet Nam, Japan and Republic of Korea). Industry reports indicated that 60–70 percent of Vietnamese imports were re-exported to China, indicating a double reporting in the international trade.

United States of America

Shrimp remained the most popular seafood in the United States of America. Supported by a strong stock market and higher disposable income, shrimp consumption in the United States of America increased in 2017, compared with 2016. Stable US import prices also kept wholesale prices fairly attractive during the review period. Sales increases in retail and catering trade drove 2017 imports to record high levels at 665 100 tonnes, worth USD 6.5 billion, 10 and 14 percent higher than 2016, respectively. The decrease in the anti-dumping tariff on Indian shrimp and its increased market acceptance led to a significant increase in shrimp supply from India (+39 percent at 214 400 tonnes), which was a key factor behind the overall rise in US shrimp imports in 2017. The average wholesale price of Indian shell-on vannamei was 6-10 percent higher than the Ecuadorian product. Noticeably, about 78 percent of the US imports of shrimp were tropical shell-on and peeled products (shell-on easy-peel, peeled tail-on, peeled deveined, butter-fly cut, among others). The share of prepared products including breaded shrimp was only 22 percent. Imports for tropical shell-on and peeled products increased by 10 percent and for prepared products increased by 11 percent, compared with 2016.


After more than 5 years of stagnation, Japanese imports recovered to a total of 223 200 tonnes during 2017 (+4.3 percent than in 2016), supported by an improved economy and higher disposable income. Overall shrimp consumption improved during the review period, but it is, as normal, associated with high consumption periods in April/May, July/August and the end of December. Japanese imports of value-added shrimp amounted to 62 200 tonnes, representing 27 percent of the country’s total shrimp imports in 2017, compared with 22 percent in the United States of America and 19 percent in the EU28. In recent years, Japanese household demand for raw shrimp declined, but increased for ‘ready-to cook’ and ‘ready to eat’ products. The year-end sales for these products were good in 2017. Demand for raw head-on black tiger shrimp increased from high-end restaurants and for Argentinean shrimp from sushi shops and supermarkets during the review period. Viet Nam and Thailand were the main suppliers to the Japanese market, including value added shrimp. Other exporters included India (35 000 tonnes), Indonesia (30 500 tonnes) and Argentina (21 600 tonnes).

European Union (Member Organization)

Shrimp demand in the EU28 market remained unchanged over the last 5 years. Imports of shrimp from outside the EU28 consisted in more than 75 percent of the total shrimp trade and persisted in the range of 570 000 to 580 000 tonnes per year, including 19–20 percent of value added shrimp. Total EU28 imports were almost the same in 2016 and 2017. Despite the stable market prices, imports from most suppliers increased only marginally, though there was a 25 percent increase in imports from Viet Nam (43 percent was value added shrimp). There was a weaker demand trend in the Community market, with some seasonal peaks. In the individual EU28 markets, imports increased marginally in Spain (+3 percent at 169 400 tonnes) and Denmark (+ 5 percent at 79 400 tonnes), but declined in France (-2.2 percent at 108 000 tonnes), the United Kingdom (-2.2 percent at 79 400 tonnes), the Netherlands (-16.0 percent at 72 500 tonnes) and Italy (-5 percent at 69 000 tonnes). Demand for Argentinean shrimp was strong in Europe during the 2017 Christmas season, compared with the demand for tropical shrimp. Switzerland, the high-end market in Europe, reported a 4 percent rise in shrimp imports at 8 200 tonnes in 2017. In 2017, Shrimp imports in the Russian Federation in 2017 were the highest since 2015, at 38 400 tonnes. Supplies of cold water shrimp from Greenland increased by 29 percent to 9 800 tonnes. Shipments from Argentina rose by 181 percent to 3 600 tonnes. Imports of tropical shrimp increased from India (+24 percent at 7 400 tonnes) and Ecuador (+38 percent at 4 500 tonnes).


Demand for shrimp in the Asia/Pacific region was strong in producing and non-producing countries (Japan, Republic of Korea, China Hong Kong SAR, Singapore, New Zealand) during 2017. Most of the regional imports entered local and neighbouring markets (Viet Nam to China, Viet Nam re-exported most of its imports with or without further processing). In Thailand, imported shrimp is generally reprocessed into value added products for exports. China remained the leading consumer of shrimp in Asia, including imported shrimp. An increasing volume (60-70 percent) of domestic production has been entering the local market. The trend is similar in Southeast Asian producing countries. In the Pacific region, imports declined marginally in Australia (-1 percent) to 32 300 tonnes, but increased in the smaller New Zealand market by 4 percent at 5 200 tonnes. Reportedly, 70 000 tonnes of vannamei were sold in India’s domestic market in 2017. Most of the freshwater prawn produced in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand and Viet Nam also entered domestic urban markets at much higher prices than export. In the Asia/Pacific region, Viet Nam was the largest shrimp importer in 2017, with increased shipments from the main suppliers Ecuador (+51 percent at 223 900 tonnes) and India (+58 percent at 157 700 tonnes;). Imports also increased from Argentina at 11 300 tonnes (+79 percent). Viet Nam re-exported 60–70 percent of its imports to China without further processing. According to the Chinese Customs, shrimp imports in 2017 increased by 4 percent to 111 400 tonnes. The leading suppliers to the Chinese market were Canada, Argentina, Ecuador, India and Greenland. Imports increased from all except from Argentina. In addition, an estimated 265 000 to 270 000 tonnes of shrimp entered China from Viet Nam through unreported border trade, while the official volume of imports from Viet Nam to China was only 1 600 tonnes. Starting in 1 December 2017, China lowered import tariffs on shrimp from 5 to 2 percent, which has induced more direct imports since then. The import shortfalls in the Republic of Korea and China Hong Kong SAR were due to declining supplies of fresh shrimp from China to these markets. However, imports from Viet Nam increased to these destinations. The weaker Malaysian Ringgit against the US dollar also affected imports, even though local demand was strong at good prices.


Despite increased production of farmed shrimp, prices in the international trade remained stable throughout 2017. Domestic prices of fresh shrimp in China, Taiwan Province of China, Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam and Singapore, were much higher compared with western import prices. At the retail trade in Malaysia, prices of fresh vannamei 50/60 pieces per kg price was high at USD 10 per kg. In India, 100 pieces per kg of vannamei was sold at USD 3.9 per kg in the fresh market.


The 2018 farming season in Asia begins in April/May. Industry sources in Asia forecast a positive trend in 2018 and a 10 percent production rise in India. Latin America entered the low production season starting in March. The likely El Niño in 2018 may cause extreme weather such as draught and heavy rain, which are harmful to the aquaculture sector. The situation will be clearer by July. In early 2018 the US shrimp inventory remained high, while imports in January were 20 percent higher than last year. In view of the recent weakening of the US stock market, importers are being cautious. If the Dow Jones keeps growing in 2018, consumer confidence will stay positive. In Europe, buyers await lower prices with anticipated rise in production. In Japan shrimp consumption will increase during the Spring festivals in April/May, while imports were seasonally low during the first quarter of the year. Since late December 2017, the Chinese authorities have started a crack down on illegal imports of seafood from Viet Nam including shrimp. During the first two months of 2018, direct imports in China from Ecuador and India have doubled. Export from these two origins to Viet Nam also remained strong in January 2018. The impact of these developments will be more visible by mid-2018. The report analyses the market situation over the year 2017 and the first quarter of 2018.

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