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.
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The waters off the coast of Louisiana are home to one of the highest concentrations of white and brown shrimp. Brown and white shrimp are the most commonly caught species in the Gulf of Mexico. These two varieties account for roughly 90% of the total domestic caught shrimp. Brown(55%) White(35%). The remaining 10% are comprised mostly of pink shrimp.
White shrimp tend to be the most commonly sought variety due to their slightly milder flavor, which makes them very suitable for many different styles of cooking. Brown shrimp are known for having a stronger flavor and are suited better for battering and frying, but are also very versatile. Pink shrimp are less common in the Gulf of Mexico, but are mainly found off the coast of Florida. Pinks tend to grow considerably larger than the brown or white varieties, reaching up to 11 inches in length, and are known for being tender and sweet.
Gulf Shrimp are $8/lb at Safeway, 5lb bags are a better deal if you got a restaurant full of people to feed. Lot's of online sellers offering Gulf Shrimp. Bubba Gump doesn't use Gulf Shrimp? McCormick & Schmick's? Forrest needs to have a talk with Rick Liem.
The democrats and like liberals, always whinning about the environment, care nothing about the health of the average citizen. They believe that every Third World alien admitted to the US represents a vote that will help keep them in power and help them grow the disastrous government that is presently in existence in Washington, D C.
Every intelligent US Citizen, in spite of the liberal media, must find it in himself and herself to vote the democrats out of the White House and out of the congress before it is too late. Even now, it will dramatic action on the part of honest, intelligent politicians to bring the US out of the course it now follows.
Secondly, regarding the shrimp situation -I guess the American shrimp buyers will have to start buying AMERICAN SHRIMP for a change, instead of the crappiest, poison-pond-raised Asian crap that can be had at the lowest price point.
I, personally, don't have any problem paying extra for good old USDA inspected American product. That's what I look for when I'm in the store, anyway.
God Bless America!
Thanks Jon B...Will check out the Safeway thing..
Haven't seen many Gulf Shimp in some of our local stores lately, out in the country small town.
And our bigger butcher, meat and fruit/veggie Market retired and closed.
Years ago in the city, we had a friend and seafood store that we bought bricks from, about $5-6 bucks, when shrimp was much cheaper...He closed up, retired or had money probs..Best shrimp ever..
Frozen on the boat or processor about 3-5 lbs bricks of Great American Gulf Shrimp.
Aren't 11 inch pinks kind of considered Prawns ??
BTW....Someone-MelErny...You are still a fkin Moron or Idiot.
I have lost 11 pounds since beef prices starting going up. I buy very little of it now and don't miss it. I am sure the prices shrimp will rise to will create a similar effect in my buying habits and there is likely a health benefit from eating less shrimp as well.
And restaurants? They went out of my budget with Ben Bernake stealing the interest I should be earning and giving it to Wall Street and the banks.
Keep going food distributors and economists. I believe some privation is good for my health.
Asian shrimps ? I thought they were all kinda short....
ok, not being mean..I'm 6'3" and nothing ever fits..at least they don't hit their heads on ceiling fans.
WE just checked a couple packages in the freezer..
Some breaded 50-60s were from Viet-Nam. 1.5 #s....$9
Non breaded 70-90s, we use for salads or jambalaya. 1.0 #.....$5.....Thailand.
Yes I would pay $8 for a pound of good Gulf shrimp...either size, but prefer 40-50s for munchin'.
Just can't hardly find them around here..
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Bill Stiritz owns more than 5% of the company, and has experienced an estimated $145 million in paper losses on his investment.
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