Fish & Seafood

Shrimp Appetite Rises in US, as Seafood Deficit Hits $16.8 Billion

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Shrimp continues to be the most popular seafood product consumed in the United States, with per capita consumption of the prized shellfish hitting a record high of 4.6 pounds in 2018, according to the recently released Annual Fisheries of the US Report published by the National Oceanic and Aeronautics Administration (NOAA).

The US Department of Commerce agency figures that overall per capita consumption of fishery and aquaculture products edged up slightly from to 16.1 pounds last year compared with 16 pounds in 2017, when it jumped by 1.1 pounds over 2016.

Salmon ranked second at 2.55 pounds, followed by tuna at 2.10 pounds and tilapia at 1.11 pounds. Rounding out the “Top 10” list, which combined accounts for 13.77 pounds or 86% of the per capita consumption total, are: Alaska pollock, 0.77; pangasius, 0/63; cod, 0.62; catfish, 0.56; crab, 0.52; clams, 0.32.

Americans rank as the second largest per capita consumers of fish and seafood in the world, after Chinese in the PRC. The US appetite for fishery products resulted in a $16.8 billion seafood trade deficit last year, as the value of edible imports amounted to $22.4 billion, while exports fetched $5.6 billion. In terms of volume, the US imported 6.1 billion pounds of seafood, compared with 2.9 billion pounds of exports.

The volume of landings of seafood harvested from US waters declined by 5.3% to 9.4 billion pounds in 2018, while value advanced 2.8% to $5.6 billion. Lobster was the highest valued species at $684 million, followed by crabs ($645 million), salmon ($598 million), scallops ($541 million) and shrimp ($496 million).

The 167-page report from NOAA provides a wealth of information covering domestic production as well as import and export statistics. It ranks India as the top supplier of shrimp, providing the US market with 36% of all imports of the popular shellfish in 2018. Other leading supply sources are Indonesia (19%), Ecuador (11%), Vietnam (8%), Thailand and China (7% each).

On the domestic production front, Alaska polllock was number one in both value and volume, at $1.98 billion and 1.6 billion pounds, respectively. Figures for other top products were: shrimp ($990 million, 305 million pounds), sockeye salmon ($940 million, 193 million pounds); Tuna ($836 million, 384 million pounds); Cod ($745 million, 292 million pounds).

NOAA’s complete report is available to review at: by John Saulnier