2017 declared the “year of happy shrimp” at GSMC

Published on
January 18, 2017

The shrimp sector is primed for growth this year, with optimistic reports from a panel of experts at the National Fisheries Institute’s Global Seafood Market Conference to declare 2017 the “year of happy shrimp.”

Production gains are being realized in Ecuador and Thailand, and a rise in demand from China has the global shrimp market poised for expansion.

The majority of consumers are very comfortable ordering shrimp at their favorite restaurant and preparing shrimp at home, according to the panel. AT the same time, other premium seafood species, such as salmon, snow crab, Chilean sea bass and mahi are struggling to hold market share due to rising prices, limited supply or lowered quotas.

In the United States, demand for shrimp was healthy, as volume rose more than 10 percent from 295 million pounds to 330 million pounds for the 52 weeks ending September 2016. Customers were rewarded for their loyalty as prices for shrimp dropped more than six percent from USD 8 (EUR 7.50) per pound to under USD 7.50 (EUR 7.02) per pound. An estimated 47 percent of American households purchased shrimp in 2016, an increase over previous years, and U.S. shrimp imports hit an all-time high in 2016.

Internationally, farmed shrimp production rose 2.8 percent in 2016, and is predicted to rise another percentage point in 2017. While shrimp consumption in Japan and Europe has declined slightly in recent years, that drop is more than made up for by skyrocketing demand for shrimp in China, with China moving from a 15 percent market share in 2011 to more than 30 percent in 2016.

“China is now the primary driver in the market,” a panelist said.

A strong U.S. dollar will help the shrimp industry in 2017, as will continued strong demand for shrimp in Europe, Asia and the Americas – with Brazil poised to play a potentially much larger role in shrimp consumption patterns.

However, the panel warned that if external factors affect supply, buyers will have little margin for error, so increased buying or importing costs will likely be passed on “quickly.”

The panel rated political instability as the highest risk for the shrimp sector in 2017, with the U.S. Congress and President-elect Donald Trump poised to enact protectionist policies that could hurt global trade in shrimp.

“Importers are likely to face a more hostile regulatory climate and possible push towards UDSDA inspections like catfish,” the panel concluded.

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