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Welcome to India's first Exclusive Seafood Portal

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Riding the Waves: US Shrimp Imports Poised to Surge After Over a Year Underwater

American shrimp aficionados rejoice – there is light at the end of the tunnel after over a year of shrinking shrimp supplies. New data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) suggests shrimp import volumes into the United States have posted year-over-year increases for three months straight.

This upward movement signals a potential comeback from the pummeling the US shrimp industry has endured since early 2022. For 13 consecutive months, import volumes dove deeper into negative territory compared to 2021 levels – an unrelenting downward spiral.

“We’ve been operating in full-on survival mode throughout this prolonged slump,” explained Marco Sanchez, a shrimp importer supplying major US retail chains from his Texas hub. “From supply chain turmoil raising costs to low retail prices denting margins, it’s been a stormy ride.”

Prices Plunge Before Tentative Turnaround

Importers have faced the brunt of plummeting wholesale shrimp prices over this rough patch, with drops of up to 30% recorded last summer for certain varieties. This downward value pressure cut profits to unsustainable levels for many players. Boat owners in India and Ecuador reported staying anchored for weeks as selling below production expenses made no sense.

However, the import volume uptick registered from August through October 2023 hints the tides could be shifting in traders’ favor. Volumes indicate possible demand stabilization on the horizon. Coupled with drops in freight costs and stabilizing inventory, the trade winds appear to be turning.

“We saw encouraging signs during the holiday season that customers still hanker for shrimp despite inflated prices across proteins,” noted Jimmy Santos, Procurement Head at leading US supermarket chain FairPrice. “Our seasonal shrimp offerings sold well with only minor discounts, and customer surveys reflect willingness to pay premium prices for quality, sustainable shrimp.”

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