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Where Does France Get Its Farmed Shrimp?




In the March/April 2009 issue of The Global Aquaculture Advocate, Hervé Lucien-Brun, a shrimp farming consultant and French citizen, writes about the French shrimp market.  Some excerpts:


From 2004 to 2008, the main suppliers to the French market were Ecuador, India, Colombia and Indonesia.  Imports from Madagascar and Brazil dropped during this period.


Ecuador: With an increase of 64% in its shrimp exports to France from 2004 to 2008, Ecuador has regained its position as the main supplier to the French market, a position it lost in 2000 as a result of the whitespot epidemic.   To address the whitespot problem, Ecuador implemented  new farming strategies like lower stocking densities and strict biosecurity measures.  From 2004 to 2008, the unit price of Ecuadorian shrimp trended upward, the result of producing larger shrimp, while the average price for shrimp from nearly all other countries decreased.


French buyers have turned to other sources to fill the demand for small shrimp, which remains the biggest shrimp product in France, much of it provided by shrimp farmers in Central America, despite the fact that they produce a translucent shrimp, not the best choice for the cooked market.


Brazil: The leading provider to the French market from 2000 to 2003, Brazil faced currency problems and disease issues from the infectious myonecrosis virus from 2004 to 2008 and experienced a 213% drop in exports to France.


Madagascar: After supplying some of the most prized shrimp to France at the beginning of the decade, Madagascar has witnessed a 9.3% drop in exports to France since 2004.  It must import many of its inputs, including feed, and its isolation and high energy costs make it difficult for it to compete with the low-cost farmers in Latin America and Asia.


Asian Suppliers: French imports of Pacific white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) from Asia are slowly increasing.  The main obstacle to faster market expansion is that Asia produces sizes that are too big for the French market.  The most popular market sizes in France are small, 100/120 and 80/100 count shrimp, while Asian producers offer mostly medium-sized shrimp.


The hepatopancreas of white shrimp from Asia often ruptures during cooking, producing an unappealing darkening of the shrimp head, which is often made worse by the fact that white shrimp from Asia are generally very translucent.


Product Forms: The leading shrimp product in France is whole “cooked and chilled” western white shrimp (P. vannamei).   Cooked and chilled shrimp are sold in bulk at supermarket, by fishmongers and in street markets.  Increasingly, however, larger volumes of shrimp are being packed in trays and sold in supermarkets.


The most popular shrimp species in the restaurant market is P. monodon, the giant tiger shrimp.  When selection is based on size and then on price, tigers have a big advantage.  Product origin is the least important consideration in this market.


Value-added products make up only a small portion of the French shrimp market.  During 2008, most value-added shrimp were imported from Ecuador, India and Indonesia.  The main imported value-added products were tail-on, shell-on, peeled tail-on and shrimp rings.


Information: Hervé Lucien-Brun, AquaTechna, Les Landes de Bauche, B.P. 10, F-44220, Couëron, France (phone +33-2-40-85-41-42, fax +33-2-40-86-44-32, email hlb@aquatechna.com, webpage http://www.aquatechna.com).


Source: The Global Aquaculture Advocate.  Editor, Darryl Jory (dejry2525@aol.com).  French Shrimp Market Fairly Stable as Sources Shift.  Hervé Lucien-Brun.  Volume 12, Issue 2, Page 20, March/April 2009.



Country Reports


Queensland—Farmed Shrimp Production Statistics


[Editor: Summer in Australia occurs from December through February, so the shrimp farming season straddles the year change, and year-to-year comparisons always look something like this “2006-2007 to 2007-2008”.  Also, in Australia, India and several other places around the world that were once part of the British Empire, they call penaeid shrimp “prawns”.  That’s why we hear so much about the giant tiger “prawn” (Penaeus monodon) and the banana “prawn” (P. merguiensis)Shrimp News has reserved the word “prawn” for freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium species), so in the report below, I changed all the Aussie “prawns” to “shrimp”.   I also converted Australian dollars to USA dollars.]


Shrimp farmers in Queensland, the state that produces almost all the farmed shrimp in Australia, grow giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) and banana shrimp (P. merguiensis), and one farm still produces small amounts and kuruma shrimp (P. japonicus).


From 2006–2007 to 2007–2008, production decreased 5%, from 3,085 metric tons to 2,943 tons.  The value decreased by 2%, from $31.2 to $30.9 million.  The average price of $10.51 a kilo was marginally above the average price in 2006–2007.


The area harvested decreased from 776 hectares to 717 hectares.


The number of producing farms has decreased by 14% over the last four years, with only 25 farms in production in 2007–2008, compared with 26 in 2006-2007.


Source: Summary Report to Farmers/Aquaculture Production Survey/Queensland 2007–2008.  The State of Queensland.  Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation.  Marine Prawns.  Page 5.  2009.


Prime Minister Wants to Modernize Shrimp Farming at Snail’s Pace


On May 3, 2009, Sheikh Hasina, the country’s new (January 2009) Prime Minister, said her government will undertake a project to modernize shrimp farming.


The government will also take steps to boost the use of snails as shrimp feed.


Source: BDNews24.com.  More Development Drive in Areas Where We Lost.  May 3, 2009.



Absence of Testing Laboratories Impedes Exports


Because of a shortage of laboratories that can test shrimp for antibiotics, shrimp exporters find it difficult to move product out of the country.


The Department of Fisheries bought one low-quality testing machine in a shady deal ordered by the Fisheries Ministry.


The only testing machine, that is running, was bought by the Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA) to comply with European Union standards in 2006.


On May 3, 2009, Kazi Belayet Hossain, former BFFEA president, said it would take  a minimum six to eight months to get new equipment up and running.  He said, “The world market is shrinking, prices are falling drastically and shrimp exporters have to wait for over three weeks for quality testing, which takes two to three days by our competitors, including Vietnam or India.”  Many exporters have had to cancel export orders because of the long delays in getting product tested.


Currently, about half the 145 processing plants in the country are closed because of testing delays and other problems.  The plants can processing 265,000 metric tons of frozen food a year, and in 2007-2008 frozen shrimp exports amounted to 50,000 metric tons.


Source: The New Nation.  Lack of Testing Laboratories/Export of Shrimp May Fall Further.  May 4, 2009.


Darden Restaurants and Giant Tiger Shrimp


On May 4, 2009, Bill Herzig, senior vice president of purchasing and supply chain innovation at Darden Restaurants, Inc. (below), made a courtesy call on Dato Paduka Awg Haji Hamdillah bin Haji Abd Wahab, acting minister of the Department of Fisheries, to discuss the supply of extra-large tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) from Brunei.


In 2007, the Department of Fisheries launched a three-year renewable project with Integrated Aquaculture International to develop advanced technology to produce large tiger shrimp in Brunei.  That project includes the development of specific pathogen free populations, selective breeding for fast growth, nutrition trials to produce custom diets, and growout trials to develop more efficient high yielding pond designs.  This technology will be offered to local farmers and will be rolled out in the new Telisai Phase II project, scheduled to begin production in 2010.


Darden Restaurants, Inc., headquartered in Orlando, Florida, USA, is the world’s largest company-owned and company-operated restaurant company with almost $6.7 billion in annual sales.  It currently employs approximately 180,000 people.  Through subsidiaries, it owns and operates more than 1,700 restaurants including Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Long Horn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52.


Source: Borneo Bulletin.  US company sees potential in local shrimp industry.  P. Marilyn.  May 5, 2009.



Genetic Marker for Whitespot Resistance


In the discussion section of this study, the researchers say, “For the first time, we have developed a microsatellite DNA marker to identify disease-resistant Penaeus monodon.  In two populations of P. monodon, resistant and susceptible for the white spot syndrome disease...we observed a highly significant difference in their microsatellite DNA fingerprinting.  In the disease-resistant population, we found only one microsatellite DNA band of 317 base pairs, whereas in disease susceptible population, we observed an additional unique microsatellite DNA band of 71 base pairs.”


Source: Journal of the World Aquaculture Society.  A Microsatellite DNA Marker Developed for Identifying Disease-resistant Populations of Giant Black Tiger Shrimp, Penaeus monodon.  Kuntal Mukherjee and Nripendranath Mandal (Immunotechnology Section, Bose Institute, P-1/12 CIT Scheme VIIM, Kolkata 700054, West Bengal, India).  Volume 40, Number 2, Page 274, April 2009.


Virus Hits Southeast Sumatra


Indonesia’s shrimp production and exports will likely fall in 2009.  A shrimp virus has attacked 62,100 hectares of shrimp ponds in Lampung Province, Sumatra.


Fajar I Reksoprodjo, corporate communication manager at CP Prima, which operates the world’s largest shrimp farm in Lampung, said the virus attacked all shrimp farms in the province, especially those managed by small-scale independent farmers.


Source: Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service).  Shrimp virus attacks center of Indonesia’s shrimp production.  Ken Coons (phone 1-781-861-1441, email kencoons@seafood.com).  Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 1-781-861-1441, email jsackton@seafood.com).  May 5, 2009.



WAS Meeting in Veracruz, Preliminary Program


To view the preliminary shrimp farming program for the World Aquaculture Society meeting in Veracruz (September 25–29, 2009), click here.


Source: Email to Shrimp New International from Lorenzo Juarez, president of the World Aquaculture Society, on May 1, 2009.


CPF’s Pilot Farm Produces 250 Metric Tons of Shrimp Per Hectare!


Charoen Pokphand Foods’ Roiphet Indoor Shrimp Project uses recirculating systems that produces shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) without antibiotics or other chemicals.  Production rates are reported at over 250 metric tons per hectare per year.  The end product is contaminant free, disease free, environmentally friendly and all inputs and products are traceable.


Located 300 kilometers east of Bangkok in Trat Province, the indoor farm is 27 kilometers from the nearest coastline.  Currently four production modules are in operation, and there is space for eight more.


The culture cycle takes 125 days: 25 days in 500 m2 nursery tanks, 50 days in 1,400 m2 intermediate tanks, and 50 days in 2,000 m2 growout tanks.


Filtration, temperature maintenance (ventilation), feeding, aeration and sludge removal are all done automatically.


All the ponds are 1.5 meters deep and lined with concrete.


Tank water is turned over 3-4 times a day.


Effluent from the farm flows into a concrete-lined settling pond, then into earthen settlement ponds, and then it is released back into the river a kilometer downstream from the intake.


A specially designed harvesting machine takes the shrimp from the harvest sump directly to the processing plant.  Following the harvest, the pond is drained, sludge is removed from the bottom, and the pond is cleaned and dried out before preparations begin for restocking.


Production is reliable, sizeable and sustainable.  There is 100% biosecurity, food safety and traceability


When the profitability of the model is demonstrated, it is likely that the technology will be used to build self-sufficient agricultural villages in various Asian, and maybe even Middle Eastern, countries.


Information: Siriphan Tantipongpanich, Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company, Ltd., CP Tower, 313 Silom Road, Bangkok 10500, Thailand (phone 662-673-3424, cell +6681-847-6449, fax +662-673-3428, email siriphan@csloxinfo.com).


Source: Austasia Aquaculture.  Tim Walker, Editor-in-Chief (AustasiaAquaculture@netspace.net.au).  Thai farm leads way in indoor intensive prawn production.  Dos O’Sullivan.  Volume 23, Number 1, Page 21,  March 2009.

United States

Alabama—Video Series on Shrimp Farming in Low-Salinity Ponds


This nine-part video series by Gregory Whitis, an extension specialist in aquaculture with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, describes the shrimp farming process in western Alabama, where farmers grow marine shrimp in inland low-salinity ponds.  The videos are each ten minutes long, so it takes an hour and a half to watch all of them.  You get to see tanks, ponds, products and equipment, and hear the farmers talk about acclimation, feeding, harvesting and marketing.


If you want to know what pond-based shrimp farming is all about in the United States, I recommend that you watch this series!


The nine videos cover:


1. Pond Construction

2. Pond Preparation

3. Water Quality

4. Transportation and Acclimation

5. Water Quality Management

6. Aeration

7. Production and Feeding

8. Harvesting and Marketing

9. Cooking Alabama Farm Raised Shrimp


Request the “Long Version”:  For a free DVD of the nine part series, contact: Gregory Whitis, Extension Specialist, Aquaculture, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Alabama Fish Farming Center, 529 South Centerville Street, Greensboro, Alabama 36744, USA (phone 1-334-624-4016, fax 1-334-624-4050, email whitign@auburn.edu, webpage http://www.auburn.edu/outreach/alabamablackbelt/agricultural.htm).


Source: YouTube.  Inland Shrimp Farming in Alabama.  Parts One Through Nine.  Summer 2008.

United States

Hawaii—Who Is Romy?


In this six-minute video, Kaylene Arneson, of Romy’s Kahuku Prawns and Shrimp Farm, is asked, “Who is Romy?”


She answers: “Romy is my father.  He’s been in farming for about twenty years.  We basically started from scratch, from a garage.  We started with just a few tanks.  We had no experience at all in raising prawns and shrimp.”  The farm has 30 freshwater ponds and 12 saltwater ponds and sells all its production from a roadside stand.  Arneson said, “We grow the shrimp for four to six months; the prawns, for eight to ten months, depending on the weather.  On a good pond, we might harvest a hundred pounds a day.  We do it year round.  When we harvest freshwater prawns, they all sell within the hour.”


[Editor: I recommend that you skip the first minute and fifty seconds of this video.]


Source: YouTube.  Hawaiian Grown TV - Kahuku Prawns & Shrimp Farm.  No Date.  Viewed on April 30, 2009.



Processing Plants Want to Import Shrimp


The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers has sought permission from the Government to import raw shrimp so that its members can fill their orders for shrimp exports.  Many shrimp farmers did not stock their ponds in 2009 because they lost money in 2008, and other farmers have not stocked yet because they are in the process of implementing new technology or attempting to arrange financing for new technology.  Hence, there is a huge shortage of shrimp in Vietnam.


Most of the affected processors are in the Mekong Delta.  According to the Bac Lieu Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, April and May 2009 were expected to experience the greatest shortages because farmers haven’t begun to harvest yet.


The main reason for the shortage is that farmers are in the process of switching to more intensive farming, and many farmers can’t afford to make the switch.


Source: Vietnam News Agency.  Firms Seek to Import Raw Fish.  April 30, 2009.



Rain, Rain Go Away


In late 2008, according to reports from the Department of Fishery Cultivation and Breeding in the Mekong Delta, 148,000 out of 540,000 hectares used for tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) farming in the Delta were wiped out by unseasonable rains.


Only 45 percent of farmers made a profit, leaving the others to breakeven, at best.  Many lost money.  Many farmers don’t have the funds to stock a crop in 2009.


Truong Thai Binh, a farmer in Lai Hoa said, “We don’t have much capital and have to buy feed on credit, but feed sellers are no longer ready to offer us this method of payment.  ...In the last crop of 2008, we had to sell our produce at lower prices than those of feed.  Due to big losses, we could not make payments to the feed sellers on time.  That’s why they now do not trust us anymore.”


Lam Hoang Ninh, manager of Agricultural and Rural Development in Thanh Tri, Soc Trang Province, said: “Local farmers have not only suffered from a reduction in productivity because the land has been used for farming so many times, but also from unpredictable weather and a continued increase in the cost of feed and veterinary medicines.  Unfortunately, the selling price of the shrimp for the last crop was only $4.49 a kilo, not enough to cover their expenses.”


Tu Van Mung, deputy director of Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development of Vinh Chau District, Soc Trang, said that despite empathizing with the farmers, the bank cannot offer more loans to shrimp farmers because the farmers still owe the bank $3,937,000 from 2008.


Source: Saigon-Gpdaily.com.vn.  Special Reports/Unseasonal rains causes shrimp breeders misery (Translated by Phuong Lan ).  May 2,2009.

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