Surge in Indian Shrimp Shipments Drives US Imports to All-Time Record 1.33 Billion Lbs in 2016
Although December 2016 shrimp imports were down 3.4 percent, annual imports for 2016 were 3 percent higher than last year establishing a new annual record import volume of 1.33 billion lbs. of shrimp. The importance of Indian shrimp imports to the US market cannot be overemphasized. Indian shrimp exports to the US were up 40 million pounds for the year, a 13.5 percent increase. Monthly shipments were exceptionally strong in the 2nd half of the year, corresponding with India's seasonal harvesting schedule
The US market share for Norwegian salmon continues to grow even though output is down. Norwegian salmon exports to the US market in January were up 1,045 metric tons compared to last January. This is because US buyers turned to Norway to help plug production shortfalls from Chile. In December, US imports for fresh salmon fillets from Norway were up 6 percent. For the year, the US imported 44.5 million pounds of fresh salmon fillets from Norway, an increase of 21.6 percent. "Norwegian salmon is strengthening its position in the US and taking market share in a growing market. The market volume has increased from 12 percent in 2015 to 13 percent in 2016. In the United States new salmon products have been launched in cooperation with the major supermarket chains," said Egil Ove Sundheim with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
German Zverev, the head of the Russian Pollock Association, was named the head of major Russian fishing trade group the All-Russian Association of Fishery Enterprises, Entrepreneurs, and Exporters (ARAFEEE). This group represents the industry in negotiating fish policy with the government. Zverev said he plans to focus on the development of the balanced and reasoned position of the Russian fishing business for the forthcoming talks with the government on the distribution of fishing quotas for 2018 by the Russian government. However, some in the industry take issue with Zverev's pro-Chinese position. Under Zverev, fish producers believe that Russia will continue to be mostly export-oriented.
In other news, Vietnam plans to expand the area it devotes to shrimp farming to push exports to $10 billion a year. An increase in salinity in the waters is bad for rice production but good for shrimp farming so the government is teaching rice farmers how to raise shrimp so they can break into the business. “Natural conditions in the Mekong Delta are very suitable for shrimp, and higher seawater level caused by the climate change will allow us to expand the shrimp farms,” said Minister of Agriculture Nguyen Xuan Cuong.
Finally, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) issued a statement that directly addresses the decision by European retailer Carrefour to stop the sale of farmed pangasius out of concern over how the fish are produced. “The ASC is sorry to see that a few retailers have decided to halt sales of pangasius. When farmed responsibly, and according to robust environmental and social criteria as defined in the ASC Pangasius Standard, buyers and consumers can have confidence in their selection of pangasius for their families,” the ASC said in a statement.
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