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Oil spill in Gulf of Mexico, other shrimp woes should boost exports of shrimp from Thailand.

Thai shrimp shipments are expected to rise by at least eight percent this year, spurred by the outbreak of infections myonecrosis virus in shrimp farms in Indonesia and Brazil, and a lower catch in the United States due to the oil spill off Louisiana that has spread to the shorelines of a number of states.

As an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico neared beaches, Louisiana's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries cut short a special shrimp season authorized to let trawlers harvest marketable white shrimp before any possible effects of the spill showed up in state waters.

With the massive slick creeping ever closer to the Gulf Coast, officials in Alabama, Texas, Mississippi and Florida, as well as Louisiana, braced for the worst. As this magazine was about to go to press, US federal authorities estimated that between 89.3 million and 176.4 million gallons of oil had come up from the seabed after a BP-operated rig, the Deepwater Horizon, exploded and sank about 40 miles offshore.

But any increase in the price of shrimp due to the spill should be small, said Dave Serrurier, one of the owners of the Great Midwest Seafood Co. in Davenport, Iowa, who pointed out that about 90% of all shrimp consumed in the United States is already imported.

Export prospects for Thai frozen shrimp were already promising, given higher purchase orders in the first quarter, said Panisuan Jamnarnwej, president of the Bangkok-headquartered Thai Frozen Foods Association. In the first three months of this year, Thailand exported frozen shrimp worth $587 million, a rise of 34% over the same period last year.

The myonecrosis virus, which stunts shrimp by lowering their appetite, is expected to cut Indonesia's production by 20% to 30%--from an estimated 250,000 tons a year to about 160,000 tons for export, he said. Indonesian shrimp exports will likely fall accordingly. Brazil, which exports about 50,000 metric tons of farmed shrimp a year, faces the same problem.
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Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jul 1, 2010
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