Argentine Red Shrimp Prices Surge Ahead of Easter Demand

Argentine red shrimp

The Argentine red shrimp, a coveted delicacy known for its unique flavor and texture, has begun to experience a slight increase in price. This uptick is attributed to a combination of factors, including dwindling inventories in Spain and a surge in demand as the Easter holiday approaches, highlighting a burgeoning interest in this premium seafood.

The Current State of Argentine Red Shrimp Market

As we edge closer to the Easter season, traditionally a period of heightened seafood consumption, the Argentine red shrimp market is showing signs of strain. With the closure of the fishing season in Chubut Province on March 18th, concerns are mounting over the availability of this sought-after crustacean. Despite efforts by Diego Alejandro Brandan, the newly appointed Deputy Minister of Fisheries for Chubut, to resume fishing activities, negotiations have stumbled over salary disputes with the union representing workers, casting a shadow over the industry’s immediate future.

Price Fluctuations Amidst Supply Challenges

The scarcity of Argentine red shrimp, particularly the maximum specification L1, has become a pressing issue for traders and distributors alike. Spain, a significant market for this product, is facing acute shortages, driving prices upward. An industry insider from Argentina noted the difficulty in establishing current prices due to these shortages, underscoring the market’s volatility.

This volatility is further exacerbated by the anticipated demand during Holy Week in Spain, a time when seafood consumption traditionally spikes. Despite record catches in Argentina during December and January, union protests in February led to a notable decline in supply, tightening the market further.

International Perspectives and Future Outlook

The global shrimp market, including that of the Argentine red shrimp, is influenced by a myriad of factors beyond local production issues. Tradex Foods, a Canadian seafood distributor, has pointed out that the slowdown in shrimp supply from Ecuador, coupled with the demand surge in Spain, is contributing to price increases across the board. This is reflected in the Spanish market, where shrimp prices have risen for all sizes, except the smallest, between January and February 2024.

An Italian importer reported a significant price increase for Argentine shrimp, by approximately 0.50-0.60 euros per kilogram. With the Argentine national waters fishing season set to begin on April 4th, stakeholders are keenly awaiting a clearer trend in prices.

Meanwhile, Ecuador’s production saw a decline of over 10% year-on-year in January and February 2024, marking a significant shift in supply dynamics. This reduction has kept prices stable in Ecuador, contrasting with the volatility observed in the Argentine market.

The Path to Sustainability and Certification

Amidst these challenges, there’s a concerted effort within the Argentine shrimp industry to achieve sustainability certification. Federico Angeleri of Veraz Group expressed optimism about obtaining certification in the upcoming fishing season, a process expected to take about a year. Furthermore, Ernesto Godelman, Executive Director of CeDePesca, emphasized the ongoing efforts to involve Argentine national water fisheries in the evaluation process, hinting at imminent announcements.

Sustainability certifications are not just a badge of honor; they are crucial for market access. A sustainability manager for a large American importer indicated that certification would enable his company to purchase larger quantities of Argentine red shrimp, underscoring the economic implications of sustainability efforts.

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