Bangladesh Shrimp Hatcheries Lose Almost $15 Million

Bangladesh shrimp hatcheries lost $14.6 million in the first six months of the year due largely to falling shrimp prices, as many shrimpers didn't purchase as much broodstock this year, reports Main Uddin Ahmad, president of the Shrimp Hatchery Association of Bangladesh.

Ahmad, whose MK Hatchery has suffered a loss of more than $145,000, says the trend would continue for the rest of the year.

Yunus Chowdhury, executive director of Al Sharaf Ltd., one of Bangladesh's largest shrimp hatcheries, says that the company has lost almost $300,000. Al Sharaf has cut production capacity to minimize future losses.

Raid Uddin, managing director of another prominent shrimp hatchery, Marigold Hatchery, reports that the company increased production early this year to anticipate shrimp price recovery, creating a loss of about the same as MK Hatchery's.

Abu Sofian Chowdhury, managing director of Modern Hatchery, says the company halted production one month early to avoid losses. When it wrapped up production in June, Modern had accumulated 1 billion shrimpbroodstock, all of which have been sold. However, half was transacted in credit, which means until all receivables are paid off Modern Hatchery is operating at a loss.

Bangladesh shrimp hatcheries have a capacity of 15 billion shrimp broodstock a year. Actual production of 58 hatcheries ranges from 8 to 10 billion shrimp. In the past, hatcheries managed to supply broodstock to boost shrimp exports, which is the second largest foreign currency earner. The rise of vannamei from China, Thailand and Vietnam, however, has challenged the country's shrimp exports.

Two major concerns of Bangladeshi shrimp farms are the impact of the lagging U.S. economy and European Union rejections. The price of 16-20 shrimp has dropped to $4.30 a pound to $4.50 from $5.30 to $5.80 a year ago.

Many small-scale shrimpers in Bangladesh chose to exit the industry and plant rice to take advantage of global price increases.


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