Thailand and Mexico Making Up for Ecuador Shortfall in US Shrimp
A deeper look at shrimp imports to the US market through the first half of the year shows shipments from Mexico and Thailand are offsetting steep declines in imports from Ecuador. Through June, Thailand has shipped 41 million lbs, up 58 percent from their level in 2014. Mexico has shipped 24 million lbs., up 140 percent from 2014. Meanwhile, shipments from Ecuador are down sharply as its sales to Asia continue to outpace those to the US mostly because of Ecuador's preference to sell head on shrimp to China. India and Indonesia continue to be the top suppliers to the US market with their shipments down just marginally from year ago levels.
It appears commercial and tribal sockeye fishing in the Fraser River will be a no-go this year after a recent assessment showed the run was trending below expectations while the river remains warmer than normal. The preseason prediction estimated about 840,000 sockeye salmon would arrive at the Fraser River by Saturday, Aug. 6., but by Friday, Aug. 5, the Pacific Salmon Commission could only account for around 450,000 fish.
Beaver Street Fisheries and Marine Gold Products have sponsored nine shrimp farms in southern Thailand’s Surat Thani province to enroll in the Best Aquaculture Practices’ (BAP) iBAP program. The iBAP program is designed to provide assistance and encouragement to aquaculture facilities interested in pursuing BAP certification. “Beaver Street and Marine Gold are quietly, but very effectively, demonstrating their commitment to responsible aquaculture in Thailand. Their knowledge and understanding of the farmers’ hard work and challenges allow them to value better their product,” said BAP Global Business Development Manager Marcos Moya. “We are sure this is the beginning of a long route of successful improvement of the farmers in Surat Thani.”
In other news, the USDA announced changes to its Catfish Inspection Program that will allow for new overseas catfish exporters to apply for a permit to ship product to the US market. Prior to this change, overseas exporters that never shipped fish to the US market were banned from exporting until their country’s entire fishery food safety system was approved by the FSIS as having an equivalent process to the US. “This policy will allow FSIS to systematically review a country’s food safety system prior to allowing exports from newly exporting foreign establishments. It also encourages foreign countries to establish equivalent food safety systems for fish as soon as possible,” the USDA said.
Finally, the FDA's Seafood Compliance and Labeling Enforcement system (SCALE) is showing positive developments in detecting mislabeled seafood among retailers and restaurants through the use of DNA testing. However, many food writers continue to skirt around the success of these scientifically-based approaches to improve the transparency of the seafood supply chain in favor of focusing on fish fraud as a rampant problem in the US market.
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