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Indian shrimp exports threaten key Ecuadorian market

India's 'enormous development' is snatching market share in the United States.

The United States, historically one of the main importers of Ecuadorian shrimp, has given a lot of ground to Ecuador’s biggest competitor, India, in recent years.

“The United States imports more and more vannamei every year, but Ecuador is increasing its production of whole shrimp, while the US prefers tail shrimp, which is a strong product in India,” said Rodrigo Laniado, CEO of Ecuadorian shrimp producer Songa.

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Indian producers have largely migrated from native black tiger shrimp to faster-growing vannamei, and it’s been very successful: the country’s production has increased 70 percent since 2013.

“It’s having an enormous development,” said Laniado.

“India is sending more shrimp to the United States than Thailand used to in its highest peaks,” agreed Angel Rubio, analyst at Urner Barry, when he presented to delegates at AquaExpo 2017 last week.

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Last year, Indonesia was the largest supplier of shrimp to the United States, but this year India, which is selling both peeled and shell-on shrimp, has, to date, surpassed Indonesia as a supplier to the United States by 60,000 pounds.

“This is only to date, we have to take into account that the strongest period for shrimp production in India is yet to come,” Rubio said.

India’s main sizes are 16/20s and 21s, said Rubio, something that is also going to affect shrimp exporting nation Mexico.

“It seems that when Mexican producers -- who have their biggest production in the last quarter of the year -- start producing, they will have to keep much of their stocks because importers have that product from India."

Ravi Kumar Yellanki, managing director of Indian shrimp hatchery Vaisakhi Bio-Resources, spoke about the opportunities of India as an exporter of shrimp.

Speaking to IntraFish, Yellanki mentioned the current issues with the European Union are in great part bureaucratic, and although they are a concern, exporters will deal with it and improve what’s required.

“India is set to keep growing, and it will adopt the necessary measures and adapt to the requirements, once this is past us, we will continue to increase,” Yellanki said.

“India is a very high-tech country, the biosecurity measures in place ensure the quality of the product, and we are tackling all the issues pointed out by Europe.”

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This content originally appeared in IntraFish's AquaExpo 2017 blog.

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