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U.S. aquaculture report released

Saturday, March 15, 2003


Increasing competition from imports, slow economic growth, a relatively strong dollar, stable domestic grain prices and uncertainty over the impacts of international conflict have all been taken into account in the latest Aquaculture Outlook by the USDA-ERS, released today.

Highlights include:
· OVERVIEW
Declines in domestic livestock meat production are expected to lead to increased prices and provide a boost to the demand for seafood products. Higher demand for seafood might push prices for domestic farm-raised products higher but would also increase the demand for imported seafood.

· CATFISH
Catfish sales by processors are expected to increase in 2003 and reach between 328 million and 334 million pounds, up 3 to 5 percent from 2002.

Record low interest rates and relatively low feed costs are expected but cutting into any gains in these two areas will be higher prices for fuel and power. The latest forecasts indicate that corn prices are expected to only increase slightly in 2003 and prices for soybean products are expected to be about even with the previous year.

Catfish Production is expected to be higher in 2003

A jump in sales of frozen products was partially the result of lower catfish imports from Vietnam. It was the strong increase in frozen catfish imports from Vietnam in 2001 that had put downward pressure on catfish prices and reduced sales causing inventories to build. While a final ruling on an anti-dumping case filed against imports of catfish products from Vietnam is not due until later this year, the current tariff rate of 31 percent has reduced the import volume of catfish products.

· TROUT
Commercial trout sales fell to $70 Million in 2002, down 9 percent from 2001. Most of the decrease came from lower sales of food-size fish. Trout prices over the last several years have been impacted by falling prices for competing fish products, especially imported salmon products.

· TILAPIA
Average prices for tilapia increase in 2002. Tilapia imports jumped 19 percent in 2002, reaching 148 million pounds, while the total value of imports rose 36 percent.

· ATLANTIC SALMON
Atlantic salmon imports in 2002 totaled 413 million pounds with value of $818 million. These are increases of 15 percent in quantity of 6 percent in value over a year earlier.
Imports of Atlantic salmon are expected to continue expanding: shipments in 2003 are expected to be near 440 million pounds and $845 million in value.

· SHRIMP
The volume of U.S. shrimp imports continued to grow in 2002, rising 7 percent to 946 million pounds. However, for the second consecutive year the value of shrimp imports declined. In 2002, total shrimp imports were valued at $3.4 billion, down 6 percent from the previous year and 9 percent lower than in 2000. Of the eight largest countries exporting shrimp to the United States, Ecuador, China and India showed increases in volume in 2002. After falling heavily in 2000 due to disease problems, imports from Ecuador have risen by 56 percent over the last 2 years. However, the 65.5 million pounds that Ecuador exported to the United States in 2002 was still 30 percent lower than the amount shipped in 1999.
Thailand continues to be the largest single source of imported shrimp to the United States. Overall imports of shrimp between 1999 and 2002 increased by 215 million pounds. With the emphasis that has been placed on expanding aquaculture production, China’s shrimp imports are expected to be a major factor in the United States market in the future.

Although shrimp imports continue to expand, domestic shrimp production is still a vital part of overall U.S. shrimp supplies. In 2001, the last year that data are available, the domestic shrimp harvest was 324.5 million pounds, down 8 million pounds from the previous year. U.S. farm-raised shrimp production accounts for only a small percentage of total domestic supply. The ability to expand farm-raised shrimp production in the United States is severely limited by the high value of ocean front property. In 2003, shrimp imports are again expected to increase in volume, but at a slower rate than in the past several years.

· MOLLUSKS
In 2002, the quantity of the major mollusk exports (oysters, clams, and mussels) all declined. Oyster and clam exports had both registered double-digit increases in 2001, and the small decreases (1 and 2 percent) still left imports well above their 2000 levels.

The outlook for 2003 is for continued slow growth for mollusks exports as a strong dollar continues to make domestic products relatively more expensive.

· ORNAMENTALS
Ornamental fish exports increase after falling in 5 of the last 6 years: U.S. exports of ornamental fish increased by 18 percent to $8.2 million in 2002. Most of the increase in exports was due to higher shipments to Mexico and the United Kingdom (UK). Canada remains the largest market for ornamental fish exports, but shipments to Canada fell for the second year in a row. The shipments to Canada, Mexico and the UK accounted for 78 percent of all ornamental fish exports.

The majority of imports of ornamental fish are from Asia: Thailand is the largest supplier, and together with Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Hong Kong, account for 73 percent of the total shipments. Brazil and Peru are the largest suppliers of ornamental fish to the United States in the Western Hemisphere, but shipments from these countries have fallen over the last several years.
Read the report in full at: http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/so/view.asp?f=livestock/ldp-aqs/

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