India continues to bolster its position as the leading shrimp importer for the US, as the January 2018 imports indicate a continuation of the surge in shipments from last year.
Total US shrimp imports topped 664,000 metric tons worth $6.54 billion in 2017, a roughly 10% increase in volume and 12% jump in value over the previous year, and India was a big reason why, according to the latest data from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
After taking over as the US’s leading source of shrimp in recent years, India has now bolstered its position. The US took 213,956t of shrimp from India last year, worth $2.17 billion. That represented a 39% increase over the 153,956t imported, worth $1.50 billion in 2016.
India closed out the year with a big month, sending 18,980t in December 2017, compared to 14,315t in December 2016.
A panel of shrimp experts at the National Fisheries Institute’s Global Seafood Market Conference, in Miami, Florida, noted that India is seeing lots of growth from new areas of the country, not the traditional main hubs of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Robins McIntosh, senior vice president of Thai agribusiness and food processing giant Charoen Pokphand Foods, expressed concerns about the sustainability of India’s shrimp explosion. But another panelist was more optimistic, saying, “India is a very big country; it has three bodies of water and lot of new areas coming online”.
India may have come late to the aquacultured vannamei game, but it “has realized tremendous technical benefit from advancements developed during the sometime catastrophic learning curve experienced earlier in this decade by Southeast Asia,” said Jeff Sedacca, president of Sunnyvale Seafood, the US import division of China’s Zhanjiang Guolian Aquatic Products, a major buyer of Indian shrimp.