Is There Really a Shrimp Shortage in 2022?

Shrimp has long been a popular seafood choice for Americans. From shrimp cocktails and shrimp scampi to shrimp tacos and fried shrimp, it’s a versatile protein that shows up on many menus. However, if you’ve been shopping for shrimp lately, you may have noticed fewer options, smaller sizes, and higher prices at the seafood counter or grocery store freezer. This has led some to wonder – is there a shrimp shortage in 2022?

The short answer is no, not exactly But the shrimp supply chain has faced some challenges that have impacted availability and pricing this year Here’s a deeper look at what’s going on in the complex world of shrimp fishing and farming.

Why It May Seem Like There’s a Shortage

Several factors have combined to make shrimp less plentiful and more expensive in 2022 compared to previous years. Here are some of the key reasons

  • Reduced Imports from India and Indonesia – Shrimp farming production has been down in these major exporting countries due to disease outbreaks. This has significantly cut into the supply reaching the United States.

  • High Feed Costs – The cost of feed needed to grow farm-raised shrimp has increased, causing farmers to reduce stocking densities. This lowers total supply volumes.

  • Inflation – As with many goods, rising fuel prices, labor costs, and transportation expenses have driven up shrimp prices, even when supply is stable.

  • Ongoing Impacts of the Pandemic – COVID-related disruptions to international shipping and supply chains are still being felt. This slows the flow of imported shrimp.

  • Loss of Wild Gulf Shrimp – Adverse weather and changing ocean conditions have hurt wild shrimp harvests in the Gulf of Mexico recently

Different Sizes and Sources Affected

The shrimp shortage has had more impact on certain sizes and types of shrimp than others. Here’s what consumers may notice:

  • Fewer options for large shrimp (U15, U12 counts). These larger shrimp are harder to come by.

  • Smaller average shrimp sizes in both wild domestic and imported shrimp.

  • Less peel-and-eat wild shrimp from the U.S. Gulf states. Adverse conditions have hurt harvests.

  • Reduced availability of some value-added and processed shrimp products. Manufacturers are affected by the volatile supply.

  • Lower inventory of imported farmed shrimp from India and Indonesia specifically. Disease issues have cut their production.

  • Higher prices on shrimp from all sources, from Gulf wild shrimp to imported farmed and wild products. Inflation affects them all.

Will Shrimp Prices Keep Rising?

While shrimp prices and availability have been on a rollercoaster ride through much of 2022, experts don’t expect this trend to continue indefinitely.

As production issues in India and Indonesia are resolved, imports of farmed shrimp from those countries are expected to rebound over the next 1-2 years. This should help stabilize and increase supply.

The U.S. wild shrimp fishery is looking at ways to bolster the sustainability and output of domestic shrimp through improved fishery management. This could boost American wild shrimp numbers longer-term.

Meanwhile, inflationary pressures may finally ease by 2023-2024, taking some pressure off shrimp prices.

However, experts caution that with disease threats, climate change impacts on fisheries, rising production costs, and global economic instability, the shrimp supply chain may continue to see volatility in the future.

How Consumers Can Deal With Shrimp Market Changes

As a shrimp lover, what can you do in the face of a perplexing shrimp market? Here are some tips:

  • Be open-minded about sizes – Try smaller shrimp or experiment with new recipes calling for chopped shrimp.

  • Substitute other seafood – Tilapia, cod, catfish, and other white fish can stand in for shrimp in many dishes at a lower cost.

  • Search freezer sections – Look for good deals on frozen shrimp and stock up when you find bargains.

  • Buy in-season wild shrimp – Treat domestic wild shrimp as a seasonal delicacy and enjoy it fresh when available locally.

  • Focus on value, not volume – Pick a few great shrimp dishes you love and reserve shrimp for those rather than trying to build menus around it.

  • Use shrimp as a flavoring – Add shrimp powder or shells to stocks, sauces, and rice dishes to add a hint of shrimp essence for less money.

The Outlook for Shrimp in 2023 and Beyond

While 2022 has been a rocky year for the shrimp market, the long-term outlook remains positive. As production rebounds in major farming countries and new technology and management practices enhance sustainability, supplies should stabilize and even grow over time to meet ongoing consumer demand.

However, experts say shrimp lovers will likely have to get used to more variability in the future. Disease, climate change impacts on fisheries, rising production costs, economic instability, and other factors will sometimes lead to volatility in availability and pricing.

By staying flexible and adaptive in your shopping and eating habits, you can still enjoy delicious shrimp while weathering any temporary shortages or price hikes. Trust that the resilient shrimp industry will eventually adjust production to satisfy America’s enduring taste for this popular seafood.

So while talk of a major shrimp shortage in 2022 has been overblown, be ready for a few shrimp-related challenges while the industry navigates some ongoing changes and gets the supply chain back to full strength. With smart shopping and creative meal planning, you can take any shrimp supply fluctuations in stride!



Is there a shrimp shortage in the US?

WHAT TYPES OF SHRIMP ARE IMPACTED BY THE SHORTAGE? Larger-sized imported shrimp sizes 21/25 and under have been impacted most significantly. WHY IS THERE A SHORTAGE OF LARGE-SIZED IMPORTED SHRIMP? COVID-19 saw shrimp volume shift to retail markets, as foodservice volume was severely impacted.

Why are shrimp prices so low?

As inflation has cooled, the U.S. market has been warming up, importing more shrimp year over year in August and September. But the Chinese market has been tepid, with economic problems including stalled real estate development, defaulting developers and falling home prices contributing to lower demand.

Why is shrimp so cheap right now?

The cause is cheap shrimp imported from Asia, grown in pond farms and often subsidized by foreign governments. It’s idled many of this state’s roughly 300 shrimpers. “I would love to be out here at least six days a week,” Magwood said.

Is shrimp in high demand?

In 2020, the United States imported approximately $6.5 billion worth of shrimp, indicating a significant demand for this seafood product in the country. The statistic suggests that shrimp continues to be a popular choice among American consumers and plays a substantial role in the country’s food market.

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