7/12/2013 6:36 PM ET|
Asian shrimp scourge sparks US shortage
A bacterial infection is wiping out major portions of the farmed shrimp that would normally wind up on American plates.
The infection is called early mortality syndrome (EMS), and it poses no threat to human health. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, EMS has caused "die-offs" over the past two years in countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and China. The impact on the $13.3 billion industry could be devastating.
"Infected shrimp ponds experience extremely high levels of mortality early in their growing cycle -- as high as 100 percent death rates in some cases," the U.N. noted in a May press release.
EMS first emerged in 2009. A year later, outbreaks were getting serious. Shrimp farms in China suffered 80% losses in 2011, and this year production in Thailand is off 30%. And some areas in the eastern part of the country have seen 60% declines, according to the U.N. Thailand is the biggest supplier of shrimp to the U.S., which imports most of this tasty crustacean.
"Competitors such as India and Ecuador have been attempting to pick up the slack, though their output still trails that of Thailand," The Wall Street Journal said.
The impact on U.S. consumers is mixed so far.
A spokesman for Kroger (KR), the largest grocery chain, told the paper that EMS is "affecting all retailers, including us," though he declined to be more specific. Landry's chief financial officer Rick Liem told The Journal it may have to "selectively raise prices." It owns the McCormick & Schmick's and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant chains. Red Lobster parent Darden Restaurants (DRI) told the paper it doesn't plan to raise prices because it expects shrimp costs to drop by year-end.
Scientists, however, are worried that the disease might spread to shrimp farms in Africa and Latin America, where the industry also is big employer.
--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
More on moneyNOW
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 added just over a point, holding its weekly gain at 1.0% while the Nasdaq lost 0.4%.
The major averages began the day on an upbeat note, but relinquished their opening gains during the first 90 minutes of action. The early sentiment was boosted by a better-than-expected nonfarm payrolls report for February (175K versus Briefing.com consensus 163K), but a closer look into the report suggested that ... More
More Market News
The solid report comes a month after the retailer closed all of its Canadian operations.
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'