The great shrimp shortage of 2013

Harold Maass
The Week
Get 'em while you can.

An outbreak of disease overseas has driven prices to record levels

A global shrimp shortage has sent the price of America's favorite crustacean to an all-time high, despite a recent boom in the production of farm-raised shrimp.

A prawn-killing disease known as Early Mortality Syndrome has hit Thailand, Vietnam, and China, the three largest producers of shrimp in the world, sharply reducing supply. "After a decade of explosive growth, the global farmed shrimp industry has reached a turning point," says Rabobank analyst Gorjan Nikolik.

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Here is a look at the shrimp crisis, by the numbers:

Price per pound for white shrimp

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Percentage increase that represents over last year

Price a pound of such shrimp fetched in 2010

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Price of a pound of black tiger shrimp in January

Price of a pound of the same kind of shrimp in July

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Percentage of shrimp-farming operations in Vietnam's Mekong Delta that have been hit by the outbreak of the shrimp-killing disease

$1.1 billion
Value of shrimp the U.S. imported last year from Thailand, which provides about a third of America's foreign shrimp supply

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Decrease, in percent, in shrimp imports from Thailand this year

Pounds of shrimp the average American eats per year

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Percentage of the U.S. shrimp supply provided by domestic producers

Expected duration of the shrimp shortage, in years. High prices are expected to encourage increased production in other countries. India, for example, is expected to boost its shrimp exports to the U.S. by 69 percent.

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Sources: CNN, Fish Site, Los Angeles Times, Rabobank, Urner Berry (via CNN)

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