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Canadian cold-water shrimp sales 'booming' in China where online retail purchases have taken off

The international seafood media outlet Undercurrent news reported recently that sales of Canadian cold-water shrimp to China this year are “booming,” and have more than picked up the slack from declining markets in Ukraine.

After snow crab, Newfoundland and Labrador’s most valuable fishery is for northern shrimp. The 67 million pounds landed this have a total value of $120 million — although the inshore fishery was delayed over price disputes. By comparison, the snow crab fishery landed 110 million/lbs in 2022, worth $758 million.

Chinese imports of Canadian cold-water shrimp jumped to 19,318 tonnes this year from 12,548 tonnes in 2021, a 54% increase.

That more than makes up for the drop in the Ukraine market for Canadian shrimp, which was down to 768 tonnes for the first nine months of this year from 2,800 over the same time last year.

Undercurrent news quoted the Norwegian Seafood Council as stating Chinese shrimp imports are up this year 49% — although warm water shrimp imports (622,000 tonnes) far outweigh cold water shrimp imports (42,000 tonnes).

The driver of shrimp sales in china is reportedly retail (food service), and online home sales.

The demand for a high quality product from pristine Canadian waters is high, which is helping shrimp rise in the Chinese seafood market.

The Canadian offshore (over 100-foot sector) landed 46 million pounds of northern shrimp this year, worth $99 million, compared to 18 million pounds landed by the under 65-foot fleet with a landed value of $17 million.

This year's northern shrimp prices failed to kick-start the inshore fishery.

In the case of northern shrimp, processors wouldn’t buy for the panel’s spring price of $1.42/lb, and then the inshore fleet wouldn’t fish for the panel’s summer price of 90¢/lb.

Meantime, inshore boats from this province landed shrimp in Nova Scotia.

An interim price of $1.20/lb was later set to get the fishery underway while a mediator appointed by the province worked with the FFAW and processors to hammer out a longer-term arrangement. No word on what that arrangement was.

According to DFO statistics, offshore shrimp had a landed value of $2.15/lb, compared to 96¢/lb for the under 65-foot fleet.

Ryan Cleary,

Executive Director, SEA-NL

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is a professional, non-profit organization serving as the distinct voice for licensed, independent owner-operator inshore fish harvesters. You can read more about SEA-NL, and join us here.

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