Peru’s US shrimp exports jump on higher farmed output, re-processing of Argentine reds

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LIMA, Peru — A rise in farmed production and reprocessing activity boosted Peruvian shrimp exports last year. 

The country’s exports rose 38% both in volume and value, reaching 25,554 metric tons and $216 million, according to official figures.

Of these, about 81% were head-less, and the remaining 19% were head-on. 

The main markets for Peruvian shrimp exports and 2017 output. 

The US is the largest market for frozen shrimp exports, with sales rising 26% year-on-year, followed by Spain and Vietnam.

At least two Peruvian companies have started to buy Argentine wild shrimp to re-process in recent years. 

Re-processed shrimp accounted for 16% of Peruvian exports last year. According to some Argentine shrimp producers, this trend has contributed to support prices over the last year. 

Meanwhile, Peru is negotiating with Chinese authorities to make direct shrimp sales possible, having signed a protocol last November. The final document approving direct shrimp exports from Peru to China is still pending, Undercurrent understands. 

Farmed volumes going up 

Camposol Holding’s shrimp division, Marinazul, is Peru’s largest shrimp farmer. The possible increase in sales to China is seen as a big boost for Camposol

In its latest accounts, the company reported volumes were up 32% y-o-y to 11,733t. The company has been switching over to intensive shrimp farms, to increase its output. 

Also, Camposol reported an increase in sales and profits in the fourth quarter of 2017, as its decision to switch to head-on, shell-on shrimp — which is preferred by the markets in Asia and Europe — paid dividends. “During 2017, the company decided to change the product mix favoring the whole format [HOSO] instead tail only format,” it said. “This decision led to an improvement of the overall profitability of the segment.”

Other Peruvian seafood exports also on the rise

Meanwhile, total Peruvian fish and seafood exports for direct human consumption, which also include products such as giant squid, shrimp, scallops and mahi mahi, increased to above $1 billion in 2017 in value, according to official figures.

Peruvian seafood exports in 2017 and 2016 Source: Promperu

Last year, Peruvian seafood exports totaled $1.07bn in value, up 17% y-o-y and 358,727t, 15% in volume.

Peruvian companies aim to further grow their sales in the coming years, as the country’s government plans to “reinforce” its “Peru superfoods” marketing campaign, Karl Berger, coordinator of the fisheries product department at Promperu, told Undercurrent. 

Berger pointed out there would be a larger presence of Peruvian firms at the upcoming  seafood fairs in Boston and Brussels.

Fishmeal sales 

During the year, fishmeal exports accounted for 66.32% of Peru’s total fish and seafood exports in volume and 51.34% in value, according to official figures (see graph below). 

Fishmeal accounted for 66.32% of Peru’s fish and seafood exports in volume. 

Peruvian anchovy catches rose in 2017 — following a year of low catches due to the El Nino phenomenon — but remained below recent years’ average, Elena Conterno Martinelli, president of the Peruvian national society of fisheries, said.

Conterno pointed out that, despite the anchovy biomass remaining roughly in line with historical volumes, catches have decreased in recent years due to environmental conditions and regulatory issues. 

Peruvian catches of fish for direct human consumption have also been heavily impacted in recent years by climatic conditions and illegal fishing.

Peru, together with Ecuador and Chile, has created a committee for the sustainable management of giant squid in the south Pacific Ocean, with the objective of addressing the decrease in the resource, as well as its illegal fishing. 

Meanwhile, it expects its tuna industry to grow, driven by a regulation forcing foreign fishing companies to land 30% of their catches in Peruvian waters in the country.

Scallop producers also hope to be able to increase their production this year, if climatic conditions continue to be normal. 

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