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Friday, March 11, 2011
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It’s official; USA shrimp imports totaled just over 1.23 billion pounds in 2010, up 1.8 percent from 2009. According to a National Marine Fisheries Service report released in mid-February 2011, that’s the highest total since 2008’s 1.24 billion pounds. In December, the last month of the year, the trend toward higher imports accelerated, rising to 115.9 million pounds, up an impressive 7.7 percent from December 2009.
Among the top eight suppliers, only two—Indonesia and Mexico—had significant declines in their exports to the USA. Imports from Indonesia were down 11.8 percent to 134.7 million pounds, and imports from Mexico were down 42.8 percent to 51.9 million pounds. Shrimp imports from Thailand, by far the No. 1 supplier to the USA market, were up 5.9 percent to 444.8 million pounds.
Sources: 1. SeafoodSource.com. Editor, Steven Hedlund (firstname.lastname@example.org). U.S. Shrimp Imports Hit Two-Year High. February 15, 2011. 2. United States Department of Agriculture. Economic Research Service. Aquaculture Data/U.S. Shrimp Imports, Value by Selected Sources and Aquaculture Data/U.S. Shrimp Imports, Volume by Selected Sources. Website visit on February 23, 2011. 3. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, March 9, 2011.
Industry Update–Some Farms Have Increased Production by 75 Percent
In August 2010, at the Australia Prawn Farmers Association annual conference, John Moloney, a board member of the APFA and farm manager at Coral Sea Farms, a 48-hectare, environmentally friendly shrimp farm in northern Queensland, gave a presentation on the status of shrimp farming in Australia.
Moloney said that after several years of harvesting 3,000 metric tons a hectare, farmers have seen harvests jump to an average of 5,300 tons over the past two years! After canvassing shrimp farmers from all over Australia, he gave the following reasons for the jump in production: domesticated broodstock, wild broodstock from the Northern Territory (on Australia’s north central coast), improved management and favorable weather [This was written before Cyclone Yasi swamped northern Queensland on February 3, 2011.]
Approximately 80% of the production improvements came from two farms Seafarms and Gold Coast Marine Aquaculture—both showing the benefits of their long-term breeding programs. GCMA had a phenomenal year, harvesting in excess of 17 metric tons per hectare of giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon). Moloney said: “The selectively bred PLs showed excellent production results with 20% faster growth (even at high densities), no disease outbreaks (in fact close to 100% survival), a low feed conversion ratio and an overall consistency in performance across all ponds. However, these excellent results were from 8th generation breeding lines. ...With other selective breeding programs [at other farms] in earlier stages, it is likely there will be a lag of at least three to four years for the rest of industry to achieve similar performance figures.”
Moloney said the Northern Territory (NT) strain of P. monodon shows 20-30% faster growth, better health and higher pond yields (10-15 metric tons per hectare) than strains caught off the coast of eastern Queensland, the traditional fishery for P. monodon in Australia.
On the negative side, however, wild NT broodstock is more difficult and expensive to obtain. Hatcheries need to engage fishing vessels to fish specifically for it, which can be expensive and risky. In addition transporting the broodstock from the NT to the breeding centers in Queensland is difficult because of the distances involved. Strict biosecurity and quarantine measures are also required with the movement of animals from one region to another.
In the past, water exchange was the farmer’s main tool for controlling algal blooms. Now, molasses (organic carbon), lime (CaCO3, hydrated lime, gypsum, acid buff, sodium bicarbonate), various fertilizers (especially with silica to promote diatoms), probiotics and dyes are all part of the toolkit.
Matt West (Australian Prawn Farms, Pty., Ltd.) and Dr. David Smith (CSIRO Food Futures Flagship) have developed biofloc systems that result in faster growth rates, lower feed conversion ratios, less water exchange and overall water quality stability. While requiring additional labor for monitoring, analysis and pond management, these systems are profitable.
Farms are now focusing on harvests linked to the peak market periods of Christmas and Easter. Strategies include earlier stocking and the use of the faster growing PLs from the NT and genetically improved PLs from the new broodstock.
At the same meeting where Moloney gave his presentation, Dr. John Mayze, a scientist with Queensland’s Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, noted some new trends in the Australian shrimp market. From selling cooked prawns in 10-kilogram foam packs, the industry has switched to smaller 5-kilo and 1-kilo ready-to-go packs. Shrimp color during storage is a big issue in Australia. Mayze said, “Around 50% of our farmed production...is chilled with a storage life of 8-9 days; the rest is frozen. Recent research has shown that color loss during freezer storage can be slowed down with organic plant extracts (lemon myrtle, oregano, olive leaves and eucalyptus) that have anti-microbial, anti-oxidant and anti-browning properties.”
Tired or Distracted Quarantine Officer Lets Whitespot Slip into Australia
Australia is the only country whose wild and farmed shrimp are whitespot free. In September 2010, a 20-ton shipment of raw, peeled shrimp from Malaysia entered Australia markets, despite laboratory reports showing that 31 percent of samples had tested positive for whitespot virus. If the shrimp tested positive for whitespot, why were they allowed into the country? According to a hearing in the Australian Senate, “a tired or distracted quarantine worker” let the shrimp slip through. The virus could wipe out shrimp farming and fishing in Australia, industries worth a combined $265 million.
Australian Prawn Farmers Association executive officer Helen Jenkins said the incident had “huge implications”. She said, “We have absolutely no confidence in the way the government has handled this.”
Officials said about three tons of the shrimp had been recalled, but the remaining 17 tons had not been located. A government spokesman said the shrimp were hard to track because “most were sold to the catering industry”. New South Wales Liberal senator Bill Heffernan dismissed that as “a rubbish answer” and demanded a list of all outlets that had purchased the shrimp. He said “heads should have rolled” over the incident.
Source: TheAge.com. Quarantine Allowed Raw Malaysian Prawn to Come. Rosslyn Beeby. February 22, 2011.
Nautisco Seafood Manufacturing, Ltd.
Sam Peou, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nautisco Seafood Manufacturing, Ltd., a shrimp processor, has signed export contracts with two Japanese companies: Honda Suisane and Kyokuyo. After signing the contracts, he said his monthly exports jumped 50%. The $3 million Nautisco plant can process 15 tons of shrimp a day and is seeking foreign investment to build a $15 million, 200-hectare shrimp farm.
Sam Nouv, Deputy Director of Cambodia’s Fisheries Administration, said, “In order to increase shrimp production and to sustain exports, the fishery administration has encouraged farmers as well as private companies to establish more farms.”
In June 2011, Cambodia plans to open its first marine hatchery in Preah Sihanouk Province. Funded by Japan, the $10 million hatchery will sell seedstock to fish farmers—and to crab, lobster and shrimp farmers.
Ung Puth Molika, manager of the Angkor Shrimp Farming Company, said she welcomed the hatchery’s launch, saying it would be easier and cheaper to buy locally produced seedstock than importing it from abroad.
Source: The Phnom Penh Post. Building Up a Fishy Business. February 17, 2011.
Shrimp Feeds—Nutreco in China
On February 14, 2011, Nutreco announced that it had agreed to acquire 100% of the shares of Shihai Co., Ltd., a profitable fish/shrimp feed mill in China, for approximately $54 million. In 2010, the mill’s revenue was $88 million. The new acquisition will provide Nutreco’s aquaculture feed business, Skretting, with a production base in China, the world’s number one aquaculture feed market. The acquisition is fully in line with the Nutreco’s strategy to expand into new regions and feeds for other species, like shrimp. The agreement must still be passed by the Chinese government.
Shihai Co., which employs 300, produced approximately 100,000 metric tons of fish and shrimp feed in 2010, and it has commissioned a new feed plant with a capacity of approximately 150,000 tons a year!
The fish feed market in China is an estimated 8.6 million metric tons. In the last five years, it has grown by more than 10% percent a year and growth is expected to continue. Shihai, located in the Pearl River Delta of Guangdong Province, has approximately 5% of the high-end fish feed market in southern China and has shown an annual growth rate of approximately 23% during the last five years.
Nutreco is a global leader in animal nutrition and fish feed. It employs over 10,000 people in 30 countries and has sales in 80 countries. It is listed on the NYSE Euronext Stock Exchange in Amsterdam and had annual revenues of $6.6 billion in 2010.
Information: Jurgen Pullens, Director Investor Relations and Corporate Communications, Nutreco (phone +31-(0)-33-422-6134, mobile +31-(0)-6-5159-9483, email email@example.com, webpage http://www.nutreco.com).
Source: Forex Trading for Mac. Nutreco: Agreed to Acquire Fish and Shrimp Feed Company in China. February 14, 2011.
Selective Breeding Program
Rafael Verduga, the manager of the Center for Reproduction and Genetics at Camaron Texcumar, says that Joao Rocha, a Portuguese geneticist, has arrived in Ecuador to help Texcumar with a selective breeding program. Rocha has already visited numerous shrimp farms to select shrimp for the program. They will be transported to Texcumar’s breeding facility on the Santa Elena Peninsula.
Frozen Shrimp Export Prices February 2011
Andhra Pradesh—Sharat Industries, the First Vannamei Farm in India
Sharat Industries’ shrimp farm has had Friend of the Sea Certification since 1994. Sharat has 180 hectares of ponds, a hatchery, feed mill and processing plant in the Nellore District of Andhra Pradesh. In 2004, when whitespot disease was devastating tiger shrimp farms (Penaeus monodon) throughout India, it became the first company in India to farm P. vannamei. It imports broodstock from the Oceanic Institute in Hawaii, USA, under the supervision of India’s Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA) and in accordance with strict regulations of India’s Livestock Importation Act of 2001. The farm uses a closed water management system, bird control, fencing and probiotics. It does not use drugs or other chemicals during growout.
Source: FishUpdate.com. Sharat Industries’ Whiteleg Shrimp from India Earns Friend of the Sea Certification. February 18, 2011.
Mud Crab Hatchery
Texchem Food, Sdn., Bhd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Texchem Resources, Bhd., a Japanese industrial company, has begun laboratory-scale trials and experiments for the development of a mud crab hatchery (Scylla serrata, the largest of the four mud crab species) in Malaysia. In January 2011, it signed a two-year memorandum of agreement with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) to jointly study and do pilot-scale trials on the mud crab at its Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies at Muka Head in Penang. Texchem Food contributed $65 thousand to the Centre for the pilot-scale trials.
Texchem Food has been in the seafood business for over three decades and wants to become the world’s largest processor and exporter of soft-shell crabs. With seafood processing facilities in Malaysia and Myanmar, it currently exports soft-shell crabs to markets in the USA, China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and several European countries.
Source: Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service). Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 1-781-861-1441, email firstname.lastname@example.org). Texchem Developing Technology for Hatchery-Raised Mud Crabs in Penang for Soft-Shell Exports. Ken Coons (email@example.com). February 16, 2011.
Nimal Chandraratne, Director General of the National Aquaculture Development Authority (NAQDA), said shrimp farming is the main aquaculture industry in the country. Puttalam Lagoon on the west coast produces 4,700 metric tons of farmed shrimp a year. But, he said, it’s important to develop more farms on the east coast, which now has 100 farms in the Batticaloa District, with lots of room for expansion. The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry has established a $700,000 shrimp hatchery in Batticaloa, he said.
Source: Daily News. NAQDA Develops Aquaculture. Ishara Mudugamuwa. February 19, 2011.
History—Dr. Liao I-chiu, First to Grow Monodon Through Its Larval Stages
When the history of Taiwan’s aquaculture industry is written, Dr. Liao I-chiu (74) is certain to be remembered for his enormous contributions to the development of artificial reproduction techniques for the giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon). Now a professor at the Institute of Zoology at National Taiwan University and chair professor at National Taiwan Ocean University, he graduated from NTU in 1960 with a degree in zoology and then travelled to Japan in 1962 to pursue advanced studies at Tokyo University. “I was assigned by my advisor, Yoshio Ojima, to study Penaeus japonicus, or kuruma prawns, and thus began my life-long involvement with the crustacean species.”
Liao obtained his doctorate in 1968, and while conducting postdoctoral research work with Fujinaga Motosaku, Japan’s leading expert in kuruma shrimp, Liao learned that a team in Taiwan had been trying to develop larval rearing techniques for P. monodon without success.
In July 1968, Liao was recruited by the government to join a project at the Tainan Branch of the Taiwan Fisheries Research Institute. After only three months on the job, he and his team successfully grew P. monodon through all its larval stages, the first time in the world that that it had been done in a controlled environment. “Probably no other researcher in the world spent more time with shrimp than I did back then,” he said.
Hatchery produced seedstock allowed farmers to concentrate on growout and replace the traditional extensive aquaculture system, which had been Taiwan’s major mode of shrimp farming for over three centuries, with a more efficient and intensive approach.
Beginning with an annual production of only 61 tons in 1968, the sector reached its peak in 1987, when nearly 2,000 shrimp farmers produced 95,000 metric tons. “For a small island like Taiwan, such an output was astonishing,” he said. Of the 95,000 tons harvested that year, 42,000 were exported, contributing over $470 million to Taiwan’s gross domestic product. “At one point, Taiwanese exports accounted for nearly half of the shrimp consumed in Japan,” he added.
As a scientist, Liao never hesitated to share his research with the academic community. After completing the P. monodon larvae culture research, he presented the world’s first paper on the topic at a regional conference in Bangkok, Thailand, in November 1970.
Sureerath Farm—The First Organic Shrimp Farm in Thailand
In 1985, when shrimp farming was just beginning to get started in Thailand, Mr. Prayoon and Mrs. Sureerath Hongrath established Sureerath Farm, currently one of the largest organic shrimp farms in the world. In the beginning, it had about five hectares of ponds. Now it has approximately 225 hectares, 133 growout ponds, four reservoir ponds and a hatchery. All this has been developed in an environmentally friendly way with a fully closed water system.
Information: Mr. Prayoon and Mrs. Sureerath Hongrath, Sureerath Farm, 105 Moo 13, Paknam Laemsing, Laemsing, Chanthaburi 22130, Thailand (phone +66-(0)-39-363-075, fax +66-(0)-39-363-721, email firstname.lastname@example.org, website http://www.sureerathprawns.com/display/content.php?type=newsactivity&item=3).
Florida—Beaver Street Fisheries, “2010 the Craziest Year Ever”
Steven Frisch, vice president and head of purchasing at Beaver Street Fisheries in Jacksonville, calls the farmed shrimp market in 2010 “the craziest year ever”.
Frisch said the market began to stabilize late in the year, but producing countries still had trouble keeping up with demand. “The most in demand are EZ peel, but they are non-existent in Thailand,” he says. “They are harvesting the ponds as quickly as possible.”
Both Thailand and Indonesia are producing about 15 to 30 percent less product, he said, attributing the drop to the whitespot virus in Thailand and the IMN virus in Indonesia. Fortunately, “We haven’t had to increase prices too much because we bought in at the right time,” Frisch said.
Beaver Street buys shrimp mainly from Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, along with some from India.
Buyers are moving toward more value-added product, adds Mark Frisch, so Beaver Street continues to research the flavors and forms consumers want most. “We sell mostly value-added; more P&D tail-on, EZ peel and breaded, versus block.”
North Dakota—Ganix Bio-Technologies’ Experimental Shrimp Farm
For the past ten years, Adrian Zettell, has been operating an experimental shrimp farm in Newburg, North Dakota. With help from his father, who developed the water purification technology for the farm, they get seedstock from a hatchery in Florida and use only 1.1 pound of feed for every pound of shrimp produced.
After spending about a million and a half dollars on research and development in North Dakota, Zettell’s technology is being implemented at a larger commercial farm that is nearing completion in Las Vegas, called Blue Oasis.
Zettell grew up in Los Angeles, California, and met his wife, a Newburg, North Dakota native, while living in Southern California. “My wife would have bet every dollar on planet Earth...that she would have never moved back to Newburg, North Dakota, and become a shrimp farmer.” But that’s just what happened. When Adrian was dating his then-girlfriend, the two were driving through Rugby, North Dakota, when he was inspired by the challenge to grow saltwater shrimp in a place 1,330 miles away from the Pacific Ocean. “I thought you have to do it here. It is the best place to prove the technology.”
Now, ten years and a million dollars later, many of his neighbors in Newburg know he is a shrimp farmer, but still have never seen his farm. And he says he is not deaf to the whispers, “You know, so many people think, ‘Oh we’re growing shrimp, it’s gonna smell awfully fishy’—well I’m on the corner of Main Street, and you can’t smell anything. So it was the perfect way to prove all aspects of the technology.”
In addition to splitting time between North Dakota and the Blue Oasis project in North Las Vegas, Zettell says it is not uncommon to spend upwards of 50 hours a week with his shrimp. “Since we control everything we’re also responsible for it all; that’s where the work comes in.”
With a big grin on his face, Zettell said, “People used to say money grows on trees, I don’t think so. I think it grows in water.”
As his operation expands, he is spending more and more time talking with investors and arranging the business side of the operation, however, he says his greatest joy is working with the technology and proving the system.
California—Popcorn Shrimp “Tasteless”, “Soggy”, “Mushy” and “Awful”
The “Taster’s Choice” column in The San Francisco Chronicle had five “tasters” rate five brands of frozen popcorn shrimp. Here are some excerpts from the Chronicle’s review:
Welcome to the world of popcorn shrimp, a frozen food that’s long lived in the shadow of its cousin, the fish stick. Featuring little pieces of shrimp that are battered and fried, these little guys are usually served as an appetizer. They’re found in the freezer sections of supermarkets and are baked at home until their breading is a “crispy, golden brown”. That’s what the packaging says, anyway. The reality appears to be somewhat “mushier” than that:
After baking five brands of popcorn shrimp according to package directions, only one yielded anything resembling crispy shrimp. Here are the results with some of the tasters’ comments in quotation marks:
The race for first was won easily by Captn’s Pack ($7.99 for 12 ounces at Whole Foods) with its “rather large” shrimp coated in a “nice peppery batter”. These baked into “OK shrimp” with a “pretty good crisp crust,” though some thought it “could be crispier”. Flavor-wise, it was “mildly spicy” with “good salt”. Two tasters would buy this brand, two might, and one wouldn’t.
Second-place Gorton’s ($6.99 for 14 ounces at Safeway) was the best of the rest, though that isn’t saying much. “Looks like pet snacks” and “tastes like a generic mini fish stick,” one taster lamented. With “no shrimp flavor,” its only saving grace was the “crisp and tasty cornmeal” breading. One taster might buy, but the rest would not.
Kroger’s ($4.49 for 20 ounces at Cala Foods) finished third by default. “Hard, dry and tasteless” was about the nicest thing written. Most couldn’t get past the “strong iodine flavor” of “old frozen shrimp”. Not surprisingly, no tasters would buy this brand.
Fourth-place SeaPak ($8.99 for 20 ounces at Safeway) fared even worse. Rather than tasting old, the shrimp were just “tasteless”. They were also “soggy” and “mushy” with “bland breading”. Again, no tasters would buy this product.
Blue Horizon Wild ($6.99 for 8 ounces at Whole Foods) also struck out. “Teensy bits of shrimp buried in batter,” these “don’t even look like shrimp”. “Doughy,” “salty” and “fishy tasting”. In a single word: “awful.” None of the tasters would buy this product.
Linda Anusasananan, food writer/consultant, San Mateo, California.
John Carroll, cookbook author, San Francisco, California.
Shelley Handler, consultant, San Francisco, California.
Rosemary Mark, recipe developer, Walnut Creek, California.
Roland Passot, chef-owner of the La Folie restaurant, San Francisco, California.
Giant Tiger Shrimp Will Remain the Key Species
Vu Van Tam, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that in 2011, giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) would remain the primary farmed species in Vietnam.
In 2010, the area of giant tiger shrimp production in the Mekong Delta reached 564,845 hectares, accounting for 92 percent of the country’s production of 309,275 metric tons. The farming areas were concentrated in Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, Kien Giang, Tien Giang, Long An and Ca Mau provinces. Ca Mau province had 265,000 hectares of giant tiger ponds, accounting for nearly 40 percent of production (103,900 metric tons) with an average yield of 393 kilograms per hectare, up 3 percent from 2009.
Source: Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Website. In 2011, Black Tiger Shrimp Remains a Key Farming Species. February 16, 2011.
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