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Global Shrimp Outlook Conference Addresses Both Industry Issues and Key Market Data

Top international shrimp buyers, producers and suppliers at Global Shrimp Outlook:2005 recognized the need for both significant market expansion and continued vigilance against chemical residues to sustain the growth of shrimp aquaculture.
Global Shrimp Outlook Conference Addresses Both Industry Issues and Key Market Data

November 16, 2005

 

 

Photos: (Left) The international aquaculture experts on the Strategic Issues and Solutions Panel at Global Shrimp Outlook: 2005 considered such topics as market expansion, antidumping, facility certification and antibiotic residues in shrimp.

 

(Right) John Galiher of Preferred Freezer Services challenged GSOL: 2005 participants to work harder at marketing shrimp by more widely promoting their products as safe, healthy food.

 

Global Shrimp Outlook Conference Addresses Both Industry Issues and Key Market Data

 

Top international shrimp buyers, producers and suppliers at Global Shrimp Outlook:2005 recognized the need for both significant market expansion and continued vigilance against chemical residues to sustain the growth of shrimp aquaculture.

 

Panel discussions on such issues were an important part of the Oct. 24-27 GSOL shrimp-marketing meeting organized by the Global Aquaculture Alliance in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The record 300 participants from Asia, Europe, North America and South America also reviewed proprietary data on global shrimp supply, demand and pricing.

 

"GSOL is becoming 'the' strategic meeting of the shrimp industry," GAA President George Chamberlain said. "It's where issues are raised and participants ask, 'What does the market want, and what is my role in making that happen?'"

 

He referenced the industry's response to antibiotic residues as an example. While many producers have argued that zero-tolerance policies for trace levels of chemicals in shrimp are unrealistic, they recognize that such regulations in Europe and elsewhere may not change. As buyers reiterate, the market demands "clean" shrimp, so farmers have adjusted their practices to continue supplying the popular seafood.

 

The issue of facility certification has become mainstream, Chamberlain said, as evidenced by growing support for GAA's Best Aquaculture Practices program. In a special luncheon session, representatives of GAA and the certification body Aquaculture Certification Council, Inc. explained that BAP certification effectively addresses food safety concerns as well as environmental and social issues.

 

In the session on antidumping, Matthew Nicely of Willkie Farr and Gallagher called the duty bonds required by the United States government for shrimp imported from targeted nations "double taxation." Other panelists discussed continued work to eliminate the Byrd Amendment that allows U.S. shrimpers to garner funds from antidumping tariffs. The aquaculture industry's best approach to antidumping, the panelists said, is to maintain a coordinated response to ongoing antidumping issues.

 

In addition to issues discussions, Global Shrimp Outlook: 2005 provided a snapshot of the current and near-future shrimp supply and market demand in major regions of shrimp production and consumption. GSOL also provided ample opportunities for networking and socializing.

 

Dieter Moeller, general coordinator business support for National Prawn Co. in Saudi Arabia, called GSOL: 2005 "a significant contribution to further developing our business network and intelligence" and "a great personal learning experience."

 

Following the conference theme of "Finding Success in a Market-Driven Industry," high-level speakers from around the world reported on key trends. Chen Dan of the Evergreen Group Companies projected a rise in China's shrimp production to 450,000 metric tons in 2006, with more value adding and an emphasis on regional marketing to help absorb the additional product. Thailand's projections were not far behind.

 

On the other hand, Werner Jost of Camanor said Brazil's fledgling industry is still adjusting its farm practices to deal with new diseases. Ecuador is steadily recovering volume after the country’s devastating decline caused by White Spot Syndrome Virus.

 

In general, the GSOL presentations reflected the slide in profitability many shrimp producers have faced in recent years. Farmers have improved management practices, invested in technology and infrastructure, and complied with expanding regulations – only to face falling prices.

 

In the keynote address on banking institutions' views of aquaculture, Helgi Eiriksson of ISB, Islandsbanki presented a mixed review. He praised the positive growth of aquaculture and the upswing in global demand for seafood. Although ISB strongly backs several farm projects, he said, investors may hesitate due to the perceptions of environmental and health problems sometimes associated with shrimp.

 

The main answer to both deflated prices and consumer concerns, participants concurred, is focused market expansion. In his closing remarks, John Galiher of Preferred Freezer Services challenged participants to work harder at marketing shrimp by more widely and consistently promoting their products as safe, healthy food. Galiher also encouraged the establishment of new and/or more distinctly defined product forms.

 

GAA's GSOL: 2005 was supported by diamond sponsor H & T Seafood, Inc. and dozens of other shrimp- and seafood-related companies based around the globe. The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers provided additional organizational and logistical assistance as the event's in-country host.

 

The Global Aquaculture Alliance is an international, non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing environmentally and socially responsible aquaculture. It promotes sustainable aquaculture through its Best Aquaculture Practices certification program, a bimonthly magazine, conference participation and other activities.

 

For more information on GAA and Global Shrimp Outlook, contact the Global Aquaculture Alliance Home Office, email: homeoffice@gaalliance.org

Global Shrimp Outlook Conference Addresses Both Industry Issues and Key Market Data
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