FUTURE IMPLICATIONS OF THE SHRIMP INDUSTRY MARKET IN THE UNITED STATES CONSIDERING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF THE WILD CAPTURE INDUSTRY, IMPORTATION OF EXOTIC SHRIMP VIRUSES, DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGY AND THE CREATION OF AN INDIGENOUS SHRIMP AQUACULTURE PRODUCTION INFRASTRUCTURE FOR THE STATE OF FLORIDA
The most recent research and empirical data has shown that the wild captive shrimp industry has reached maximum sustainability in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and the other bodies of water where marketable species of shrimp are harvested. The world population continues to expand, shrimp consequently are quickly becoming a high demand specialty protein rich food. The price of shrimp domestically ranges currently between $5.50 and $6.50 a pound.
There are numerous controlling items that will cause the price of shrimp to double within the next five years. There are three major issues that will move the market value of shrimp to increase exponentially.
1. The sustainability of the captive market.
2. The continued introduction of exotic viruses in the offshore commercial captive shrimp fisheries and aquaculture enterprises.
3. The rules, regulations and laws that will be instituted under the auspices of the Lacy Act (16 U.S.C. §§ 3371 to 3378).
Clearly the oceans of the world have reached their peak sustainability.
It is also clear that exotic viruses have and will continue to be introduced into the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, from foreign sources. This is already causing extensive mortalities and will continue to result in a decline in the capture of U.S. indigenous species of shrimp. The best case scenario suggests that the U.S. captive market "may" remain at its present levels. The worse case scenario could be as high as an 80% mortality of the captive fisheries.
The following agencies have come to this realization in a preliminary report to the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture (JSA) dated June 11, 1997 (see attachment A): National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS); U.S. Department of Commerce (USDC); Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS); U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); National Center of Environmental Assessment (NCEA); U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS); U.S. Department of Interior (USDI); and the National Oceanographic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA). Shortly under the guise of the Lacey Act and other supporting federal rules, regulations and laws, the importation of foreign wild harvested and aquacultural shrimp projects will be severely curtailed.
The United States can not afford the destruction of the American shrimp market through the introduction of virus laden imports from countries that inadvertently and purposely introduce deadly exotic viruses into the harvestable waters of the U.S. fisheries.
Therefore, the United States is preparing now to clamp down the introduction of these exotic viruses via implementation of new procedures at the federal and state inspection facilities located at all U.S. ports of entry where shrimp passes over our national borders, including our fisheries.
A prudent person, after reading the preliminary report can see, for just one example of many, that China lost over 66% of its production for 1993 to viruses. And it is also clear that these countries that export frozen shrimp to the United States (Equador, Thailand, Taiwan, India, China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Philippines, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia, Nicaragua, etc.) are not likely and have not bothered to safeguard our fisheries from the viruses that are imported into the United States in their frozen shrimp. These countries account for 80% of our consumption of shrimp. Their method is and may well continue to be, harvest the infected shrimp, freeze them, sent them to the United States and make a profit on the infected shrimp. Their alternative is to destroy the infected shrimp, attempt to sanitize the aquaculture ponds and remove any profit they should have. Otherwords, they go out of business.
The regulatory agencies of the United States will have to act very shortly. The failing of the U.S. government has been in the allocation of funds for research and development of bio secure environmental friendly vertically integrated shrimp production facilities to supply the domestic demand and institute a new technology exportable to the entire world. The technology now exists to implement such facilities. No one in the world is currently doing it.
Texas is currently the leader in the United States in the production of farm raised shrimp. This is no accident due to the educational focus in Texas by Texas A & M University towards shrimp aquaculture. Next comes South Carolina also due to the institution of Waddell Mariculture. Both these leaders of aquaculture are not in the same beneficial ecological situation as the State of Florida. Just consider the available coastline, appropriate land and year round temperature of Florida. Then the immense potential of the aquaculture of shrimp becomes crystal clear. But where is the Florida technology situated for shrimp production? There are universities that have mediocre programs for the development of technology for shrimp. They do not have near the capabilities of Texas A & M or Waddell. Where are the programs for the development of shrimp aquaculture sponsored and supported by the State of Florida and the federal government for the most viable lands in the United States? They do not exist in Florida. They do exist in other states such as Hawaii, Texas, South Carolina and Maryland.
Florida is uniquely situated to capitalize upon the current technologies of other countries and states to now enter the new millennium of shrimp aquaculture as its most profitable producer of revenue for the state. There is no other source of clean, feed to growth ratio, price per pound, time to mature protein as can be produced with shrimp.
The State of Florida must first build a shrimp hatchery that will focus on the indigenous species of its surrounding waters. This hatchery will serve three immediately necessary needs: Research, stocking the wild fisheries and shrimp farms. Once the bio secure environmental hatchery is in operation it can distribute its post larvae to commercial shrimp farms that fit the criteria for a sustainable yield that does not harm the environment.
This will be the birth of Florida's second largest industry.