High Global Demand for Argentine Red Shrimp Pinched Supplies, Raised Prices in 2016
High demand for Argentine red shrimp in global markets last year pinched available inventories for buyers compared to the previous year and raised the cost to replace product in the US market in 2016. Traders say global interest from the US, EU, Japan and Chinese markets for Argentina’s red shrimp last year wiped out carryover inventories from the previous year. Usually, these frozen inventories are able to fill orders between fishing seasons. Another wrinkle in production was delayed production from the inshore fishing season, which usually starts in October and runs through March. But indications are that Argentina’s inshore fishing in January and February in 2017 was a bit better compared to last year. So while there is ample evidence that 2016 was a banner year for Argentine red shrimp demand and sales in global markets; close attention will be paid to production levels going forward to see if the pace set last year can be repeated in 2017.
The EU is investigating if shrimp from India is being transshipped through Vietnam to avoid high duty rates. German Customs officials are leading the investigation after a surge of unprocessed shrimp to Vietnam from India was reported. If Vietnam is found to use India-sourced shrimp for processing and export to the EU, the bloc will raise import tariff for Vietnamese shrimp. Currently, EU duties on Vietnamese shrimp are far lower compared to duties on Indian shipments to the EU market.
In other news, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is refocusing its efforts to detect listeria at seafood processing, importing and distribution facilities in the US and is using Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) technology to do so. The FDA issued a seafood warning letter to a smoked salmon producer at the end of the February that used the technology to detect listeria at its facility. “WGS is going to be an important tool moving forward in FDAs efforts to isolate and study pathogenic bacteria and consequent outbreaks. WGS refines the process of tying facilities to contaminated products and outbreaks. The FDA has refocused its attention on RTE processors, as listeria has continued to pose a serious public safety concern," said seafood facility auditor Scott Zimmerman, who is also the founder and CEO of Safe Quality Seafood Associates in Miami.
Meanwhile, Clearwater Seafoods says its clam production is 50 percent since it invested $135 million to build two new clam trawlers. The company’s inventories of clams, which account for about 15 percent of Clearwater's total revenues, grew by about $23.9 million last year, far in excess of the company’s usual level of $15 million worth of this product in inventory. “The Belle Carnell has excellent results on our fishing grounds and resulted in a 50-per-cent increase in our total clams,” Ian Smith, Clearwater Seafoods’ CEO.
Finally, SeaWatch International and some affiliates, filed a lawsuit to end laws that restrict non-New York fishing boats, and those more than 70 feet long, from New York's surf clam fishery. The suit also seeks to nullify the expiration of a 2012 law that allowed surf-clam interests to harvest the quota of more than one permit on a single boat.
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