Current Trends in the Shrimp Fishery and Shrimp Imports

Shrimp Credit: Paula Ouder
Shrimp Credit: Paula Ouder

Over the past two years, diseases affecting aquacultured shrimp in Asia such as Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) have led to an overall decline in imported shrimp to the US.  This has led to Louisiana and other US shrimpers getting more money for their catch.  Last year prices were at a record high.  However, EMS is currently less of a problem, and prices are falling a bit as more imports are coming into the US.  However, during this time, India took over as the number one importer of shrimp to the US over Thailand.


While disease is not currently a major issue, antibiotic use is becoming one.  While there are antibiotics approved for use in fish aquaculture under specific guidelines, no antibiotics are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in crustacean aquaculture- this includes shrimp.  More imports are being checked for, and rejected due to antibiotic residue on the shrimp.  Last year over 200 entries of shrimp were refused for antibiotic residue.  In January and February of 2015, over 80 entries of shrimp imports were refused due to antibiotic residues.  In March, the FDA created import alert 16-131 which included the presence of drugs or additives in several species including shrimp.  As the majority of shrimp consumed in the US is imported, farmed shrimp, the amount of shrimp successfully imported into the US has a direct impact on the price shrimp fishermen get dockside and consumers pay at the store.


-Julie Lively

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