2010 Boston Seafood Show's Shrimp Forum

It’s increasingly evident that U.S. shrimp imports will exceed last year’s total of 1.23 billion pounds, according to figures released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Fisheries Service on Friday.

Through the first 11 months of 2011, U.S. shrimp imports were up 3.1 percent, to 1.15 billion pounds, just 81.3 million pounds shy of 2010’s total. If history is any indication, December 2011’s total will easily top 100 million pounds.

However, in November 2011, shrimp imports were down 3.4 percent, to 123.3 million pounds. That’s the first month in four months that shrimp imports have dropped.

The No. 1 reason: There just isn’t as much shrimp coming in from Thailand this year due to the worst flooding that the country has experienced in decades, which has impaired its shrimp production, distribution and storage.

Shrimp imports from Thailand — by far the United States’ No. 1 shrimp supplier — were down 7.9 percent, to 369.5 million pounds, through the first 11 months of 2011. In November alone, they were down 15.9 percent, to 39.6 million pounds. Shrimp imports from China and Vietnam are also down this year.

Picking up the slack are Indonesia, Ecuador, Mexico, India and Malaysia. Through November, shrimp imports from the five countries are up 15.7 percent, 11.3 percent, 28.2 percent, 67.9 percent and 18.1 percent, respectively, from the same 11-month period in 2010.

U.S. shrimp imports for December, and all of 2011, are due to be released on 10 February.

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