Vannamei shrimp exports surge on global shortage

Written by Rajesh Ravi | Kochi | Updated: Aug 23 2013, 06:34am hrs
Seafood exports are on a roll mainly due to high shipments of Vannamei shrimp and strong landing volumes following the monsoon break. Indian Vannamei exports have surged in the last three months due to short supply in the global market, induced mainly by a disease outbreak in the three largest producers, i.e., China, Thailand and Vietnam. Industry reports suggest that the supply of Vannamei from Thailand could be lower by almost 50% during 2013 and countries such as India and Bangladesh would meet this gap.

The demand for Vannamei is surging, with global supply cut drastically short by the disease Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS). We have exported most of our catch in the last three months. Some hatcheries are even exporting smaller-count Vannamei due to the surge in the price. Prices have almost doubled in the last few months, Anwar Hashim, managing director of Abad Fisheries and former president of the Seafood Exporters Association of India told FE.

Higher exports of vannamei shrimps helped the Indian seafood sector achieve a record export realisation of $ 3.5 billion during the last fiscal in spite of weak economic conditions in major markets.

Exports of Vannamei or white shrimp which is less expensive than the traditional black tiger to the US surged, helping overcome shortfalls in other markets. Vannamei exports to the US increased 141.34 % by volume and 100 % by value (in $ terms) during the last one year, officials of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) said. Total seafood exports during FY13 aggregated 9,28,215 tonne, valued at R18,856.26 crore or $ 3511.67 million.

Rabobank reports that India, among others, has the potential to increase shrimp output many times its current production due to its large river systems that provide ideal shrimp farming conditions. Indias shrimp exports to the US are estimated to rise by 69% on global supply constraints, and reach 11,000 tonne by 2013. Rabobank expects Indias share of global trade to rise further in coming years. It estimates Indian vannamei production to increase five-fold in the near future.

Anwar Hashim estimates Indian exports to be good in the current fiscal due to the depreciating Indian rupee, greater Vannamei farming and good marine catch. The landing of fish on Indian coasts has also increased, he adds. India is the second-largest fish producer in the world after China and accounts for nearly 6 % of global fish production.