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Thailand strengthens domestic shrimp market

December 11, 2007

For shrimp producers in Thailand export income has been the main engine driving the growth, but they are working on to expand its domestic market to beat the rising Baht. 80 percent of cost for shrimp processors accounts for raw materials and the strong currency gives farmers great pressure to lower prices.

Pinyo Kiatpinyo, who is president for five shrimp cooperatives in Thailand, such as Tacheen Basin shrimp farmer cooperatives and Network of Thai shrimp farmer cooperatives, asserts with emphasis that spurring domestic shrimp market is crucial to avoid currency fluctuation.

Total Thai shrimp production is 500,000 tons, of which only 10% is for domestic market. With increased disposable income thanks to economic growth, expansion of domestic market is possible, said Kiatpinyo.

"Per capita annual consumption of shrimp in Thailand is only 800 grams. Although retail prices are 10 to 20 Baht expensive per kilogram than other animal proteins, Thai economic growth and growing interest in seafood due to BSE and avian flu will contribute to a stronger demand. Hopefully we would like to increase domestic market to 40 percent in five years", he added.

Thailand`s black tiger production faces challenges

December 11, 2007


Shrimp industry in Thailand wishes to increase the production of black tiger shrimp, but it is more challenging than they expect after vannamei dominates ponds.

According to Department of Fisheries of Thailand, production ratio of black tiger shrimp was over 50%, but it shifted to vannamei and its production accounted for merely 3% in 2005. Although their figure indicates black tiger`s share increased to 10% in 2006, many experts doubt the number.

Department of Fisheries hopes to beef up black tiger`s production ratio to 10% next year and 30% on a long term basis, as they believe they lost Japanese market share by shifting the production to vannamei and Asian rivals, such as Vietnam took the position, said Dr. Poonsap Virulhakul, Senior Expert in Fisheries Management of Department of Fisheries of Thailand.

Asian Seafoods`, a listed company on the Bangkok Stock Exchange, processing proportion of black tiger is less than five percent because its major market the United States mainly orders vannamei, said Suree Jansawat, assistant managing director and purchasing manager at the company. Jansawat hopes the company is able to secure more black tiger, but he sees it is unlikely.

"Our main black tiger markets are Japan and Australia. Actually, we are the largest black tiger exporter to Australia, which is about 500 tons a year. We pay 25% more per kilogram to farmers who produce vannamei and 50%, or 100 Baht for black tiger. We hope the production of black tiger will be increased to 10%, but quality of black tiger is not stable and farmers are not willing to make that species".

Attapon Siridhara, who first produced 100% vannamei in Thailand, says you can`t go back to black tiger once you start farming vannamei.

"Production of black tiger is erratic. Sometimes you have four to five different sizes even if you farm shrimp under the same condition and they tend to stay at the bottom, while vannamei fans out in different locations. Black tiger consumes animal protein and needs more fish meal than vannamei, which pushes up operational costs and sheds profit".

MEL reveals its eco-label

December 7, 2007

Japan Fisheries Association announced Thursday it officially established an environmental standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries, Marine Eco-label Japan (MEL).

The label, sought from the public was unveiled. The label was created to accentuate its amiableness to seep into the world, said Mitsue Sato, a 40-year-old housewife, who designed the label.

The program is designed to meet the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) guidelines adopted in March, 2005 in Rome.

JFA says that it will be most concerned about being accepted globally and offers the eco-label at reasonable cost.

Upon official launch of the program, MEL Japan starts accepting applications for candidate for independent certifiers and industry-classified bodies that advise or act over in the process of accreditation.

The program will be operated by JFA, at least for the present, as a non-profit organization. JFA says it will focus on public relations through its website and brochure to promote the eco-label to the world and avoid major confusion with other systems.

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