Written with positive shrimp enthusiasm and intent…..global helicopter view suggests possible different strategy.

Thailand still long way from a shrimp come back….but that should not necessarly be the current or long term strategic aim.

This report makes for an interesting read. With some nice info-graphics. Of course feed, water usage and solar are all aspects being looked at continually by all players globally involved in shrimp industry.

Link here to 61 page paper – some interesting figures plus a lot of repeats…

OK – so there is no case in this day and age for sustainability. It is and should always be mandatory – so no discussion. If a business is not sustainable it will disappear or find problems in markets – case in point Thailand.

Prawnmaster does not see that Thailand can revitalize its industry but does need to re-position to come in line with others and stabilize position. So still lots of work to do.

Prawnmaster does not see business opportunity in Thailand – integrated major players currently running 60% of the exports out of Thailand already did the smart business move and went global, regional in their businesses and, in parallel, entered into other sectors.

What’s gone is gone and for good reason and perhaps no need even to go back to trying to reach those same heights….read on.

Some comments here as reality check on report.

History first:

Yes Thailand shrimp industry is disjointed – the only outward reach for export is via processing facilities that are concentrated and were never really previously integrated as farmers.

The majority of shrimp farmers in Thailand were/are small scale and they used to have a guaranteed minimum price support from the Thailand government.

When this was removed the risks suddenly increased and many farmers, who did not have processing plant support (financing seed, feed and product off take) just did not stock. Result was a massive drop in production due to associated economic risks.

Industry (exporters) blamed disease but not so.

Thailand shrimp industry also, a decade ago, had access to other state support for growing exports….such as rebates per container exported, access to subsidized electricity and a blind eye to getting/using cheap fishmeal locally..

IUU came later but worse, in 2014 Thai seafood industry shown to be using slave/indentured labor. Allowed for an easy price competition used to gain market share.

UK supermarkets lapped up these cheaper Thai shrimp.

With exposure to malpractices in Thailand markets became wary. Certifying meant using shrimp feed with higher costs and, combined with no more state support for small farmers of course the disease card was used…..


Seafood Task Force good PR but Thai orientated. Situation has changed with all players tightening up acts but some reports in 2019 still show that there is still long way to go.

Markets still buy Thai as a great supplier of value added and own brand products.

Current thinking is Thailand will never get back its once lauded position on volume – and that is not a negative view though.

Economics per value chains step in BCG report is clearly for value added and treated shrimp…..

…yield on deheaded and peeled shrimp is 55%. Weight gain with chemicals 15% so brings back yield to 70%. Thai shrimp export price $8.85/kg and that is based on 1.3Kg = 1kg exported figure – in appendix.

So deduction is that these numbers shown are for shrimp chemically treated value added shrimp and which seems to be thrust of Thai industry – perhaps because so many processing plants were built to cover past supply/demand and not running at full capacity anymore.

These value added products tends to be for US and Northern European markets. Bigger volumes go to markets in China, Southern Europe and Japan….but for heads-on shrimp.


No point increasing production unless you are integrated. If you are then you are probably doing that anyway. Integrated guys have already hedged bets and are producing in other countries also.

Shrimp industry production players not integrated in Thailand should a) look to consolidate b) look at how to remove middlemen from equation c) develop local market consumption and maybe d) diversify back into growing Black Tiger again – different market sector to commodity vannamei.

Future markets will still grow as population grows but markets will decide source.

Current Thai production will adapt to market requirements. Intensification is just one option. Automation / robotics in processing is other.

Integrated business in Thailand already leading – in Thailand – but don’t expect others to follow.

Everyone globally already is or should be doing full traceability – not sure there is any competitive advantage arising for Thailand in that respect – but requirement for markets.

Thai shrimp industry is not pioneer in traceability. Other countries are more advanced.

That said traceability is important to address Thailand most pressing problem in shrimp farming – due to so many small farmers and middlemen – and that is that there is not good traceability.

Trail blazing needs to happen but it is done due to market pressure and using external technologies – it is something undertaken because markets demand it. More lag than lead.

Long term indoor farming will disrupt Thailand shrimp farming.

Long long term. Don’t forget shrimp farming is already a disruptive industry to fished shrimp as seafood.

Shrimp farming is globally responsive and flexible. Natural progression is intensification yes. Indoor farming is a continuation of this.

Indoor farming for export does not make sense for a marine tropical shrimp grown in a tropical country.

Indoor farming, by its very nature, can be done anywhere. Which is why CP (from Thailand) are doing an indoor farm in USA – close to markets.

Now that makes more sense…..and indirectly if demand is lowered in markets by locally grown shrimp than yes, then this may disrupt Thailand’s farmed shrimp exports in future.

Nice and slick CP marketing on shrimp broodstock multiplication center in Thailand

Grand parents from USA or Ecuador? Cannot be USA as non-endemic. Mexico maybe?

Or mix anyway. BUT it does not matter when grown in contained RAS systems.

Its like growing in quarantine to market size.

Genetics starts with a survival of the fittest stress test. Then a growth over survival selection. Then after production energy input is financially balanced to commodity market output in a close-to-market location – then survival and sustainability is required again.

Looks like some initial good clean branding of non exotic natural shrimp readying up for US market launch.

Are these the leaders or the laggers? GOAL Aquaculture Industry Confronts Global Health Crises, Slavery, and Feeding the World

Global Outlook on Aquaculture Laggers. Too little too late. Outcomes are short on original aspirations as I remember them 35, 30, 20, 10 and last year.

Talking about antibiotics in aquaculture is nothing new. It has been raised consistently at various levels in shrimp industry. Question is more like what has been done about this by so called self professed leaders? Still antibiotics are rife in aquaculture via feed mills or lack of regulatory enforcement.

Claims made by GAA about AMR (Anti-microbial resistance) creating a public health issue in consumer markets for shrimp are not correct as noted previously on this blog.

GAA’s BAP also covers food safety and while antibiotics in Indian shrimp farming is seemingly still common, leading producers are just not in the cowboy game anymore.

Anyway any microbes in shrimp that could be harmful for humans are effectively removed by cooking. Correct labeling can support and, simple hygiene practices, like washing hands and are standard public health food handling safety issue alerts – so takes care of that!

Also incidence of food safety and recalls on shrimp are extremely low, compared to other foods in US and since USFDA implemented HACCP practices on imported shrimp. If it was a big issue one would have thought that there would be something done but AMR is not a big issue in shrimp. Use of antibiotics is a big issue though.

Human rights issue was raised first at GOAL 2010 with the discovery of cheap fishmeal being used by the leaders in the Thai shrimp industry resulting in competitive advantages for them entering into UK shrimp markets and retailers like Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s.

Marks & Spencers sourced from Central America, where, once upon a time child labour was an issue in shrimp wild seed collection and offsite de-heading facilities – however this was all addressed in the early years of shrimp farming by a move to hatchery seed and an implementation of upstream processing standard operating procedures – now called HACCP globally.

Thailand (or those GOAL attendees and leaders) keeps banging on about addressing slavery year in year out – seems like a sop or just a marketing PR ploy as issue is still there. Money gained (ill gotten) has been used to grow businesses in other sectors globally. Hmm – how about putting a stop to it now. Business practices need to be review. A lot of price fixing and consortium cartel building around tuna and salmon as fish grown for seafood for human consumption.

But hey guys, shrimp industry is NOT the fish industry. It is bigger, better, bolder.

While GOAL was on in India – other leaders in global shrimp aquaculture where at a different conference half way around the world and much more relevant to shrimp.

The feeling is that while GAA started out with shrimp it has strayed from its original purpose – look Global Seafood Assurances cover fished seafood – a non aquaculture resource. So now Global Aquaculture Advocacy has included fish hunted for human seafood consumption. Shock horror

GOAL has come to encompass many things seafood – including fish. GAA/BAP certify about 15% of the trade. One wonders if these so called leaders meeting are not a bit of a stretch. The net has been flung too far and the issues are being addressed elsewhere (at least for shrimp) where we can see tangible results.

Still we see the same old problems with little action being raised at GOAL. Feels like lip service but actually is the correct strategy for these leaders to address and/or develop the market for their product technology specific to where the meetings were held – India .

Lastly – a discussion held there about humane treatment of fish (a requirement in light of recent events at GAA/BAP approved salmon sites) should not be transferred onto shrimp – shrimp are totally different from fish and are treated with due respect in culture.

Here is the article

Why Thailand shrimp farming imploded….

Everyone says it was disease but actually…….

The Thai government took away the guaranteed minimum price support to shrimp farmers – they had already got into trouble with rice – which featured heavily in Thai politics. This included the Thai government cold-store backstop shrimp strategy.

The Thai government took away the rebate on every reefer container exported. Initially this was to promote exports and investments into shrimp industry.

Shrimp farmers held back on stocking. Shrimp processors and exporters (whom didn’t really get involved in farming), with forward contracts to fill, started looking at importing and/or offshoring into other countries (SE Asia).

In country shrimp experts played the disease card – with vibrio convenient.

It was highlighted earlier on in 2010 to the Thai export industry in GOAL Kuala Lumpur, that Thai shrimp farmers had gained market share by playing a strategy of using unsustainable and non-certified local fishmeal. Things got worse later when news media delved in further and found slave trade involved. Then the chemicals and mangroves….

So since then economics seems to have hampered the Thai regrowth of shrimp farming –

BUT hope is that new technology has helped basically to reformat the strategy with RAS (albeit still exclusion rather than containment) systems being used.