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World output of cultured shrimp falls, but at 721,000 tons accounts for 28%.

For the first time since the mid-1970s, global production of farm-raised shrimp was thought to have dropped last year. Some 721,000 metric tons of whole shrimp or prawns were harvested, down 1.5% from 733,100 tons in 1991. Thailand remained the world's leading producer, turning out 150,000 tons of head-on product, or 20.8% of the total.

Those were among the statistics compiled in World Shrimp Farming 1992, a 56-page, country-by-country review of the global aquaculture scene. "Currently farmers produce approximately 28% of all the shrimp place on world markets," concluded San Diego, Calif-based Bob Rosenberry, publisher of the annual report. He broke out the species mix as follows: Black Tigers (Penaeus monodon), 47%; Western Whites (Penaeus vannamei), 16%; Chinese White (Peneaus orientalis), 16%; Other, 23%.

Producers in the Eastern Hemisphere greatly dominate the shrimp culture business, accounting for 82% of world output. In the Western Hemisphere, only Ecuador is a first class player. Responsible for 95,000 tons of production in 1992, it ranked fourth internationally with a 13.7% share. China was close behind world leader Thailand with 140,000 tons, or 19.14% of the universe, Indonesia's 130,000 tons ranked it third at 18.07%

The second tier of producers was headed up by India, whose 45,000 tons ranked fifth with 6.24% Rounding out the top ten were: Vietnam, 35,000 tons (4.8%); Taiwan, 30,000 tons (4.16%); the Philippines and Bangladesh, each producing 25,000 tons (3.46%); Colombia, 8,000 tons (1.10%).

"With markets in Japan and Europe showing signs of saturation, and following the lead of Thailand, shrimp farming countries are looking to value-added products - such as IQF, whole, cooked and bread shrimp - as a means of increasing their total return on investment," observed Rosenbery.

He calculated Thailand's shrimp exports at worth close to $1 billion a year, of which 90% is derived from farm-raised product (mainly black tigers). The report noted that aquaculture production dropped slightly from 1991's record harvest of 153,000 tons "because the government is no longer making loans available to build farms in mangrove areas. Also, production was affected by drought, a cold spell, disease, and by a shortage of brood-stock. Weather-related phenomena knocked some hatcheries in eastern Thailand out of business."

Meanwhile, the Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group, one of Thailand's largest producers of farmed shrimp, estimates that national exports of black tigers during 1992 surpassed 135,000 tons to earn a record of 35,000 million baht (US$ 1.35 billion), compared to 26,630 million ($1.02 billion) during the previous year.

Greater purchases in the USA and Europe were responsible for the uptick, since Japanese buying fell for a number of reasons - including an ongoing recession and rising competition spurred by reduced duties on beef imports. The export price of frozen shrimp averaged US$ 13 to 14, compared to $10 to 11 during 1991.

Chingachai Lohawatanakul, president of CP's aquaculture business division, said that the Group's exports of frozen prawns reached an all-time high of 15,000 tons worth about US$ 150 million.

Putting Tigers in Their Tank:

Experimenting with Shrimp

The United Arab Emirates are experimenting with the culture of tiger shrimp. It could mean the re-birth of the country's shrimp industry, which was shut down several years ago by a ban on shrimp fishing in UAE territorial waters.

Four native shrimp species had been on the verge of extinction when the ban was imposed, but the Marine Resources Research Center at Umm Al Quwain is now working on the most common variety, Penaeus semisculcatus (the green tiger prawn), growing one or two-month old larvae under controlled conditions.

The shrimp project, begun last March, involves taking shrimp larvae from a lagoon at the Center and transferring them to a two-meter deep farm where they can be grown to fingerling size and then marketable size (about 30 grams) over about 10 months. The first batch of 30,000 shrimp was expected to be harvested early this year. One new wrinkle is a solar-powered feeding device that dispenses feed (40% fish meal, plus wheat, algae and vitamins) at regular intervals during daylight hours. After the first harvest, the Center will try raising a second crop straight from fertilized eggs; that would have to be the basis of commercial shrimp aquauculture.
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Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Words:722
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