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China

First Half of 2017, Shrimp Diseases Lead to Higher Prices

 

In the first half of 2017, China’s shrimp harvests got off to a bad start.  Just a few weeks after stocking, many farms were hit by disease, particularly in southern China.  Consequently, prices for Penaeus vannamei are currently 10-15% higher than the same period in 2016.

 

According to Shuichan, an industry publication in Guangdong Province—a key shrimp farming region encompassing the cities of Zhanjiang, Maoming, Yunfu and Yangjiang—shrimp farmers had to empty between 30-90% of their ponds in May 2017 and restock them because of diseases.  In Suixi, a local district in Zhanjiang, farmers were afraid to restock their ponds because they feared that diseases would wipe them out again.

 

In late May 2017, China’s National Aquaculture Technology Station, which issues regional disease alerts, reported that Hainan, Guangdong and Guangxi provinces were all at risk of whitespot outbreaks.

 

An industry source at one of China’s largest shrimp companies agreed with Shuichan’s assessment.  “This year survival rates have been very low in South China, just 20-30%.”  In 2016, China’s season got off to a much better start.

 

Shuichan blamed the disease outbreaks on wildly fluctuated temperatures and heavy rains in South China.  It said in Suixi the diseases were thought to be caused by bacteria and toxic algal.

 

In May 2017, average prices for 60-count whole shrimp in Guangdong Province were $11.90 a kilo.  For smaller 80-count and 120-count shrimp, prices averaged $10.49 and $7.68 a kilo, respectively.  In May 2017, in Hainan, the sub-tropical province off the South China coast, prices for 80-count shrimp averaged 8.63 a kilo.  In China, farm-gate prices typically fall in June as the first harvests of the year begin to hit markets.  Thereafter, they usually stay low until October, due to the continuing harvesting through the summer.

 

Some parts of South China have reported better harvests in recent weeks.

 

South China is the biggest shrimp-producing region in China, with Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan provinces accounting for around two-thirds of its production.  Problems there will likely further stimulate Chinese import activity!  Satasap Viriyanantawani, who runs the Thai business of frozen seafood supplier Siam Canadian Group, said, “Chinese brokers have recently bought very aggressively, and some of them are offering to pay any prices to obtain their desired sizes.  This is jeopardizing our situation.”

 

Meanwhile, during the recent Thaifex trade show in the Thai capital, other shrimp sources said Chinese buyers were active in other Southeast Asian shrimp farming countries.  “It’s a mad rush for material,” said Eric Ng, general manager at Singaporean firm Pinetree, which processes black tiger shrimp at its plant in Vietnam.  “We wanted to do more [production], but there is not enough raw material,” Ng said.  “We are fighting China for raw material.  It’s a big problem.”

 

Source: Undercurrent News [eight free news reads every month].  Editor, Tom Seaman.  China Shrimp Prices 10-15% Higher as Disease Strikes Again.  Louis Harkell (louis.harkell@undercurrentnews.com).  June 23, 2017.