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August 31, 2015


USA Government Report on Ecuadorian Shrimp Farming in 2014


This information was compiled by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service Office in Quito, Ecuador.


2014 Statistics: Ecuador has farmed shrimp since 1968.  Currently 95 percent of total shrimp production is of the Pacific white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei).  Ecuador’s location straddling the equator, along with favorable weather, permits shrimp farmers to raise three crops a year.  In 2014, Ecuador was the third largest producer of white shrimp in the world.




The Ecuadorian shrimp industry has about 300 hatcheries that produce nauplii and postlarvae.  The Vice Ministry for Aquaculture and Fisheries reports that about 410 million shrimp larvae are produced daily (with a mortality rate of 60 percent).


Ecuador’s Vice Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries reports that 207,000 hectares are dedicated exclusively to the production of shrimp.  Average yields are estimated at about 1.6 metric tons per hectare per year.


Sixty percent of Ecuadorian shrimp farmers use low-density, extensive farming systems, stocking 8-14 postlarvae per square meter.  Others utilize semi-intensive systems, stocking 15-120 postlarvae per square meter.  Some farmers also utilize intensive systems where shrimp stocking densities are greater than 120 postlarvae per square meter.  Shrimp farmers in Ecuador routinely switch between low and semi-intensive systems.  Sanitary and sustainability concerns are being raised at a time when growing numbers of shrimpers are considering shifting to intensive shrimp farming systems.  The United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service Office in Quito sees a shift to lower density farming and the increased utilization of more affordable, lower-quality feed.




Ecuador’s Consumption of Shrimp: Shrimp consumption in Ecuador remains marginal, especially when compared with its production levels.  USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service in Quito estimates that Ecuador’s shrimp consumption is 7,200 metric tons a year, a fairly stable figure over time.  With a population of about 15.8 million, per capita consumption is about 0.45 kilos a year.


Ecuador’s Shrimp Exports: Exports to Vietnam, which accounted for a quarter of Ecuador’s 2014 shrimp exports, will continue.  Vietnam’s shrimp industry is still in the process of recovering from an early mortality syndrome (EMS) outbreak.  Ecuador’s shrimp industry however continues to struggle to add value to its products.  It remains unable to effectively compete with lower cost Asian processors, relegating it to mainly exporting frozen, uncooked shrimp.





Shrimp Feeds: Ecuador’s animal feed industry uses USA wheat as an agglutinant and USA soybean meal in lieu of fish meal.  Shrimp feed typically contains 30 percent protein.  The mix varies, depending on soybean meal and wheat prices.  Ecuadorian feed manufactures prefer USA soybean meal due its higher quality.  Shrimp feed conversion rates range between 1.5-1.9 kilograms of feed for each kilogram of shrimp.  Total feed use is estimated 578,000 metric tons a year.  Forty percent of the soybean meal is from the USA, while almost all of the wheat meal is from the USA.


Government Agencies: The Vice Ministry for Aquaculture and Fisheries oversees the enforcement of non-environmental regulations and the administration of land concessions and water use.  The Science and Technology Secretariat funds the sector’s research and development programs, and the Institute for the Promotion of Exports and Investments (PRO ECUADOR) pursues overseas market access and promotional activities.  The Ministry of the Environment regulates farm and laboratory operations and enforces environmental standards.


United States Involvement: The United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service Office in Quito, Ecuador, promotes the use of USA soybean meal and grains in Ecuador’s shrimp feed, and the USA Soybean Export Council provides technical assistance to feed mills that use USA soybean meal.  The Export Council is currently helping three shrimp producers achieve GLOBAL GAP Certification, which should facilitate foreign market access for their shrimp.


Source: USDA Foreign Agriculture Service.  Shrimp Ahoy–Ecuador Shrimp Sector Update.  August 21, 2015.

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