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April 20, 2013


Shrimp Prices Soar by 40%


Since fall 2012, wholesale prices of imported frozen shrimp have soared as supplies decrease because of infectious diseases on shrimp farms in Southeast Asia.  The fall in the value of the yen also contributes to higher shrimp prices.


Industry observers think high shrimp prices will persist through early summer or at least until the disease problem is resolved.


The wholesale price of white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei)—a species sold most frequently at supermarkets and other mass retailers—is now around $18 per 1.8 kilograms (head-off, 13-gram size), which is about 40% higher than at the end of 2012.


Just prior to the holiday-studded Golden Week in early May 2013—the second largest demand season in Japan after the end-of-the-year period—an official at a major seafood trading firm said it was difficult to secure enough shrimp, noting that it was an unprecedented situation.


The prices of tiger shrimp (P. monodon)—generally sold in larger sizes than vannamei and used for tempura and fried food dishes at restaurants—are also rising.  The wholesale prices of Indonesian black tigers (head-off, 25-gram size) spiked up over 40% from the end of last year to around $29 per 1.8 kg, a price not seen since the mid-1990s.


Since the summer of 2012, Japanese buyers have tended to concentrate on Indonesian tiger shrimp after an anti-oxidant in excess of the Japanese standard limit was detected in shrimp from India and Vietnam.  A wholesaler at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market observed that the Japanese criteria for the anti-oxidant are more rigorous than those in other countries.  Therefore, an increasing number of shrimp exporters are shifting sales to other destinations than Japan in a bid to avoid problems, he added.


Source: (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service).  Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 1-781-861-1441, email  Shrimp Prices in Japan Reach Record Levels as Weak Yen and Supply Shortages Crimp Buying.  John Sackton.  April 19, 2013.


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