It all started with an outbreak of EMS (Early Mortality Syndrome) shrimp disease in China in 2009 that caused massive losses in farmed shrimp and prawn yields. Now, the disease continues to baffle scientists who are researching bacterial or viral causes. Meanwhile, the countries of Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand have seen massive outbreaks in the 2012/2013 seasons. Combined, these four countries make up 70% of worldwide shrimp export. EMS shrimp disease has recently spread to Mexico. Countries currently unaffected include Bangladesh, Ecuador, India and Indonesia. Source: Undercurrentnews.com

India has started to fill-in with secondary crops, but currency weakness is not helping the US market. Meanwhile, Indonesia supply is described as “uncontrollable” as farmers keep increasing prices while packers have moved to defensive strategy of buying only based on requirement.

All this amounts to a huge run-up in shrimp and prawn prices. Consumers, and especially restaurants are seeing unprecedented $7/lb and $8/lb. with their suppliers and even more.

Grand Food’s advice? P&D shrimps, headless shrimps, Tiger prawns, even in medium sizes are now more expensive than our Live Maine Lobster. This shrimp shortage won’t stabilize anytime soon, especially since a cure or a control for impacted crops seem elusive. Prices are expected to continue to rise well into 2014 at the very least.