Dominance in global shrimp trade shifting to Asia

Published on
January 26, 2018

In terms of both production and consumption, Asia is now dictating the terms of the global shrimp trade, a panel of industry experts said at the 2018 Global Seafood Marketing Conference in Miami, Florida.

On the production side, Indonesia and Vietnam have posted solid, steady growth, Thailand is recovering well after EMS devastated its production, and India is expected to grow its shrimp aquaculture output by 10 percent in 2018. Those four countries, along with China, account for 2.5 million metric tons (MT) of the total 3.4 million MT of farmed shrimp production in 2017. 

On the consumption side, Asia’s shrimp imports have risen from about 15 percent of global production  in 2011 to more than 35 percent in 2016, with the majority of that increased demand coming from China.

“China is the determinant now,” one panelist said.

China’s appetite for shrimp appears insatiable, with its predilection for seafood and its growing middle class. Meanwhile, demand for shrimp in the United States has stagnated, and its share of the import market has shrunk from around 35 percent in 2011 to 30 percent in 2016.

“We’re really not the big dog in the room anymore,” an American panelist said. “It kind of feels like we’re not in the driver’s seat anymore.”

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