« October 2006 Table of Contents
Editor's Note: International sourcing a must
By Fiona Robinson, Editor in Chief
October 01, 2006
I ran across an interesting news story about Gulf shrimp as
this issue of SeaFood Business went to press. "Shrimp prices,"
a Sept. 17 article in the Alabama Press Register, was the first
accurate mainstream-press portrayal of the state of the
domestic shrimp industry - and it didn't slam shrimp imports
from Asia and South America.
The article noted that some people in the Gulf are beginning
to realize that imports aren't the main reason domestic shrimp
prices are so low. Of course, this realization has hit after
U.S. shrimpers filed an antidumping petition that slapped
tariffs on imported shrimp in 2005. The article also bore out
what many in the industry had predicted: that the imported
shrimp supply would gradually shift to breaded product to
bypass the tariff on raw product.
This article hit home because much of what has been said and
written about imported shrimp since tariffs were imposed has
not been good. For example, we're told (wrongly) that imported
farmed shrimp is all raised using harmful antibiotics banned in
the United States. Imported shrimp suffered a double whammy
when Country of Origin Labeling went into effect last year,
placing even more emphasis on seafood's birthplace.
Thankfully, most consumers don't care where their seafood
comes from. They don't know farmed salmon is Atlantic salmon
and that it hails from Canada, South America or Europe. They
just want to know how much it costs at a restaurant or how to
prepare it at home.
Consumers aren't aware that the seafood buyers who provide
fish for menus and seafood cases have to be globetrotters.
Since the 1980s, chain buyers sourcing large volumes of seafood
at a reasonable price have had to go to Asia or elsewhere.
"Passport to procurement," this issue's Top Story by
Associate Editor Steven Hedlund, examines the growing trend of
chain buyers and suppliers setting up shop overseas to control
costs and monitor quality. The story details how trade and
harvesting policies affect global seafood sourcing and explains
how innovation in preservation and processing technology has
extended seafood's reach. As eight out of the top 10 seafoods
in the United States, based on per capita consumption, rely
heavily on imported supplies, many SFB readers will find this a
This Top Story is also the launching point for SeaFood
Business ' 2007 focus on international sourcing. We'll be
reporting on the seafood industry in countries that have been
in the spotlight recently, such as Vietnam, as well as some
that have contributed to the U.S. seafood supply for decades,
such as eastern Canada.
As always, we welcome your thoughts.