Indian shrimp producers held off a strong challenge from Ecuador in the battle for US market share in the opening six months of 2022, according to the latest figures published by Ecuador's Camara Nacional de Acuacultura (CNA) trade association.

By volume, India led the way with 38 percent of total US shrimp imports, followed by the South American nation with 30 percent.

Indonesia trailed in third with 18 percent, leaving Vietnam, Mexico and producers from other nations to fight over the scraps.

US imports of Indian shrimp edged 1 percent higher compared with the same period a year ago to just over 120,000 metric tons, while shipments from Ecuador rose 13 percent, approaching 100,000 metric tons.

Although from a vastly lower base, Vietnam saw the biggest rise, with the US importing 13 percent more than in the first six months of 2021.

Since 2020, the first year of the global COVID-19 pandemic, half-yearly shrimp imports into the United States are up 37.5 percent at 323,613 metric tons (713 million pounds).

The value of those imports since 2020 climbed nearly 54 percent to more than $3 billion (€2.94 billion).

Compared to the first six months of last year, shrimp imports by volume were 6 percent higher and 21 percent higher in value terms.

Ecuador is likely to smash shrimp export records this year in key markets in the United States, China and Europe.

This is despite US demand for seafood has falling in recent months in the face of soaring living costs.

A series of shrewd business decisions over the years has helped transform Ecuador's shrimp industry into a global export force to be reckoned with, according to Rabobank Senior Analyst Gorjan Nikolik.

His comments come after Ecuador posted record shrimp exports for the second successive month in June.

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