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October 9, 2013

The World

Statistics on Production and EMS From GAA

 

Reporting from the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s annual conference, GOAL 2013, this year in Paris, France, John Sackton, editor of Seafood.com, writes:

 

Jim Anderson, head of the World Bank’s global fisheries and aquaculture program, said that global shrimp production fell 5.7% in 2011-12 and 9.6% in 2012-2013.  Overall global shrimp production is 23% less than what had been expected a few years ago, and in actual numbers is down 15% since 2011.  These numbers are based on a GAA industry survey at GOAL 2013.

 

The reason for the declining numbers is the outbreak of early mortality syndrome in Asia and Mexico.  Although the industry is optimistic that global growth will recover in 2014, to a 7% a year level, this may not be borne out on the ground.

 

Further, Anderson said that the disease problems had forced farmers to harvest smaller shrimp.  The smallest sizes (51-60 count per pound and smaller) accounted for 23% of Asian production in 2008, but in 2013 these sizes accounted for 41% of production.  The reason is that farmers were harvesting ponds early to avoid disease losses.

 

Consequently, shrimp prices are high, and in some cases in record territory.  This is going to spark a reduction in demand.  But the reduction in demand may be less than expected, as consumers in new markets—like China—purchase more shrimp.  It is unclear what will happen in the shrimp market after the holidays, but whatever happens will not be the result of more shrimp, but rather consumer reactions to current prices.

 

Robbins McIntosh, from CP Foods, suggested that the most realistic recovery scenario in Thailand would not be a rapid V-shaped recovery, but a slow gradual climb.  He thinks it would be 2018 before Thailand can produce 500,000 metric tons again and even longer than that to reach the 625,000 tons produced in 2010.

 

The sobering takeaway from the GAA conference is that although progress is being made in controlling EMS, there is no magic bullet and only very good farming practices, enhanced regulation and controls on broodstock would help end the disease.

 

About 70% of those surveyed at GAA thought EMS would be with us for at least 3-5 years and some felt it would be with us for 5 to 7 years.

 

Another survey question asked whether EMS was likely to spread to additional countries in Asia and Latin America.  Over 70% said, “Yes”.

 

In short, after years of hearing that the shrimp industry was on a strong growth path, this year the message was that we have plateaued, and that it will take a lot of work and strong management to resume strong global growth.

 

Source: Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service).  Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 1-781-861-1441, email jsackton@seafood.com).  GAA: Global Shrimp Production Down 15%; Fish Production Flat as Disease Limits Growth.  John Sackton.  October 8, 2013.

 

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