U.S. shrimp imports drop in 1Q
U.S. shrimp imports are down 4.4 percent in the first quarter of 2010, according to figures the National Marine Fisheries Service released on Wednesday.
Indonesia and Ecuador are primarily to blame for the 4.4 percent drop in U.S. shrimp imports in the first quarter, from 253.2 million pounds in 2009 to 242.1 million pounds in 2010.
Through March, shrimp imports from Indonesia were down 29.3 percent, to 32.1 million pounds, while shrimp imports from Ecuador were down 8 percent, to 32.6 million pounds. Last year, Indonesia and Ecuador ranked No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, on the list of top U.S. shrimp suppliers.
However, Thailand and China offset the falloff in shrimp imports from Indonesia and Ecuador. Shrimp imports from Thailand, by far the No. 1 U.S. shrimp supplier, were up 7.7 percent, to 84.3 million pounds, through March.
Panisuan Jamnarnwej, president of the Thai Frozen Foods Association, told the Bangkok Post earlier this month that he expects the country’s shrimp exports to increase 8 percent this year, spurred by the outbreak of infectious myonecrosis virus in shrimp farms in Indonesia and Brazil and a reduced U.S. catch due to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. In the first quarter of this year, Thai shrimp exports reached USD 587 million, up 34 percent from the same period last year.
And shrimp imports China, the No. 4 U.S. shrimp supplier, were up 31.4 percent, to 21.2 million pounds, through March.
Rounding out the top eight U.S. shrimp suppliers in the first quarter of 2010 were Mexico (18 million pounds), Vietnam (13.6 million pounds), Malaysia (10.7 million pounds) and India (7.9 million pounds).
Last year, U.S. shrimp imports totaled 1.21 billion pounds, down 2.8 percent from 2008.