Global Shrimp Production Review – Industry Projects Steady Recovery Following Disease Impacts

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Global Shrimp Production Review – Industry Projects Steady Recovery Following Disease Impacts

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The 2014 Global Aquaculture Alliance survey of production trends in shrimp farming polled 33 respondents from Asia/Oceania, 22 from Latin America and two from Africa. Figure 1 summarizes the production estimates for global production. Data through 2012 were obtained from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), while the 2013 to 2016 data are averages of the estimates provided by the survey participants.

Shrimp production is projected to rise an average 8% annually through 2016.


Figure 1. Shrimp production by region. Blue area is difference between 4% growth and GOAL estimates. Sources: FAO (2009-2012) and GOAL survey (2013-2016).

According to FAO data, global production of farm-raised shrimp reached 4.0 mmt in 2012, down 4% from the 2011 volume.

The GOAL survey estimated that world production fell 19.3% in 2013 to 3.3 mmt, but should start increasing again in 2014. If production had grown at a conservative annual rate of 4.0% after 2012, it can be inferred that 2013 production was around 22.0% below the level that could have been expected if the most recent disease crisis involving early mortality syndrome had been averted.

Global shrimp production is nevertheless expected to recover and grow at an average rate of about 8% during 2014, 2015 and 2016. Volume should recover close to 2011 levels by 2016.

Asia Production

Shrimp production grew steadily in Asia through 2011, averaging a 7% annual growth rate from 2006 to 2011 (Figure 2).


Figure 2. Shrimp aquaculture production in major farming nations in Asia. Sources: FAO (2009-2012) and GOAL survey (2013-2016).

Production in 2012 declined to 3.4 mmt (down 5% from 2011) due to the impacts of early mortality syndrome (EMS) or acute hepatopancreatic necrosis syndrome in China, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. According to the survey respondents, production in Asia fell 21% in 2013 to around 2.7 mmt, with the most substantial declines taking place in China and Thailand.

Although production in China is expected to recover in 2014 from 1.1 to 1.2 mmt, output in Thailand is expected to decline even further to 200,000 mt, with an eventual partial recovery in 2015. Production in Vietnam, Indonesia and India is expected to increase steadily between 2013 and 2016, with Vietnam and India achieving double-digit growth rates.

By 2016, Vietnam, Indonesia, India and Bangladesh are expected to reach production of 590,000; 450,000; 395,000 and 107,000 mt, respectively. Thailand could drop from second to fifth place in the region, producing 328,000 mt in 2016. Output in China is expected to reach 1.3 mmt in 2016, 16% below the record quantities achieved in 2011. These forecasts assume that impacts from diseases are reduced to manageable levels.

Latin America

Figure 3 presents estimates for the major producing nations in Latin America. Mexico was also heavily impacted by EMS in 2013, with respondents reporting a 48% decline in production from 100,000 mt in 2012 to 52,000 mt. A partial recovery is expected to begin in 2014. However, output in 2016 is expected to reach only 86,000 mt – 34% below the record production achieved in 2008.


Figure 3. Shrimp aquaculture production in major farming nations in Latin America. Sources: FAO (2009-2012) and GOAL survey (2013-2016).

The outlook for most other Latin American nations is more positive, with Ecuador and Brazil reaching 356,000 and 106,000 mt, respectively, by 2016. Strong growth is predicted for Ecuador in particular, where the annual average growth rate between 2013 and 2016 is expected to be around 8.5%. This growth assumes an increased presence of Ecuadorian shrimp in European and Asian markets in addition to the traditional U.S. market.

Assuming no major impact from EMS, steady increases in production through 2016 are forecasted for most countries in Latin America, with the exception of Colombia, where the industry is expected to contract by nearly 60% between 2012 and 2016.

Product Form Trends

The GOAL survey also collects information on trends in size categories and product forms. A notable trend in Asia in recent years was the increase of green shrimp relative to other product forms, such as cooked and breaded. While head-on and head-off green shrimp accounted for only an estimated 30% of production in the 2007 survey, they accounted for 48% in the most recent poll. These changes seem to reflect the growing importance of the domestic Chinese market, which may have a preference for green shrimp over other processed forms.

Production in Latin America continues to be oriented toward green shrimp. Head-off shrimp seem to be losing market share relative to head-on and peeled shrimp. Green head-off shrimp accounted for 41% of production in 2006, but only 24% in 2013.

Increased shipments of Ecuadorian shrimp to European and Asian markets were an important factor driving this trend.

Respondents in Asia reported a move toward production of smaller shrimp sizes since 2010. The share of small shrimp increased from 27% to 42% between 2010 and 2013. The shift to smaller shrimp seemed to have been driven by narrowing price margins between the small sizes and larger counts. Early harvests caused by EMS also help explain this trend.

Disease Impacts

“Diseases” was once again identified by survey respondents as the most important challenge faced by the industry. Other disease-related issues, such as seedstock quality and availability, and access to disease-free broodstock, were also ranked high – in the second and fourth positions, respectively. International market prices and feed costs were ranked as the third and fifth most important issues.

These perceptions have changed remarkably over the last seven years. In the 2007 survey, diseases were not mentioned among the top three challenges for Asian producers, who used to be more concerned about feed costs, international market prices and trade barriers. Disease issues have moved to the forefront in the most recent years. In Latin America, access to credit has emerged recently as an important challenge for the industry.

Most Asian and Latin American respondents expected global economic conditions to improve and the global shrimp market to strengthen in 2015 relative to 2014. The upward pressure on feed prices is nevertheless expected to continue in 2015.


Green shrimp have become an increasingly important product form globally.

Source: James L. Anderson, Ph.D., The World Bank, University of Florida – Diego Valderrama, Ph.D., University of Florida – Darryl Jory, Ph.D., Global Aquaculture Alliance – The Advocate Global Aquaculture – November/December 2014.

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