Shrimp in Bangladesh

The shrimp sector in Bangladesh (100,000 tonnes a year) is unique. More than 95% of shrimp and prawn in Bangladesh are produced in extensive polyculture ponds that were formerly used as rice ponds and are locally referred to as ‘ghers’. The culture of Penaeus monodon (black tiger shrimp), locally referred to as ‘bagda‘, is mostly combined with the culture of other shrimp species that are trapped in the gher when water is taken in. The culture of Macrobrachium rosenbergii (giant freshwater prawn) takes place in smaller ponds and is mostly combined with the culture of rice and/or freshwater fishes. M. rosenbergii is mostly (over 95%) produced by small-scale farmers, who harvest only a few kg of large shrimp per day. This results in a complicated supply chain with many layers of middleman who own and handle the shrimp. Sector development is provided by two big programs funded by the Dutch government and USAID, and implemented by respectively Solidaridad and WorldFish. Shrimp exports total over 40,000 tonnes of P. monodon, M. rosenbergii and some smaller volumes of other species in 2016 and 2017. Over 80% was exported to the EU market in 2017, especially to the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. There are more than 70 factories approved by the Department of Fisheries (DoF) in Bangladesh, but only 40-50 are operational.

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Sourcing news

Shrimp production and export statistics

Species wise production

Source: FAO (2017), data for 2016 and all 'Other' species volumes have been collected from DoF (2017).

Production data from the FAO and DoF for both P. monodon as M. rosenbergii appear to be aligned, except for 2014. The FAO reported a higher production of M. rosenbergii of 2,000 tonnes. While hatcheries still face production problems, rosenbergii farmers have no problem to collect sufficient post-larvae from the wild as production increased again from

2016. Production for both P. monodon and M. rosenbergii increased in 2017 to 76,131 tonnes and 54,164 tonnes respectively. However, these figures are not official as Bangladeshi financial years run from March, although they are not likely to differ much.

The volumes reported by DoF on the production of other shrimp species including Penaeus indicus (Indian prawn) and Metapenaeus monoceros (brown shrimp) have rapidly decreased until 2016. It is unlikely that this decrease has really taken place as farmers use the same production system and should catch similar volumes. However, it is possible that part of the production that was earlier reported as cultured is now reported as wild shrimp.

State wise production

Source: DoF (2017)

If the extra 2,000 tonnes production of M. rosenbergii reported by the FAO is taken in this figure, the total production has remained equal 2014 onwards. M. rosenbergii is produced in fresh water ponds. Khulna division takes account for 95% of the total production. Production in Khulna division is concentrated in the northern parts of Khulna, Sathkira and Bagerhat and the southern part of

Jessore. The further to the south the less M. rosenbergii.

P. monodon is also mainly produced in Khulna division (70%), although Chittagong division contributes significantly as well with 25% of the total production. In Khulna, P. monodon production is concentrated in the southern parts of Sathkira, Bagerhat and Khulna. In Chittagong division production is concentrated in Cox's Bazar.

Just like P. monodon, also P. indicus and P. monoceros are mainly produced in Khulna and Chittagong divisions as these species are bycatch in the extensive P. monodon ghers.

Shrimp export markets

Trade Map (2018), International Trade Centre, Note that 2016 and 2017 data are mirror data.

Between 2010 and 2013 shrimp exports from Bangladesh were relatively stable ranging between 50,000 and 55,000 tonnes, since 2013 the volume has dropped. Since 2014 the volume was below 50,000 tonnes for the first time, and

hasn't recovered. The main reason for this decline has been the shortage of raw material availability, making the product more expensive and less competitive in the international market. The EU's relative share remains significant and increased with 10% compared to 2016. Export volumes of 2017 show a slight decline compared to 2016, which is result of reduced exports to the US and UK. Countries like Russia and Japan are importing more Bangladeshi shrimp.

The top five EU countries importing from Bangladesh in 2017 take account for 83% of total imports in terms of volume. Bangladeshi shrimp is mainly sold in the food service sector and in ethnic supermarkets. Only small volumes are distributed to European supermarkets. This is mainly due to the presence of exporters with environmental and/or social responsibility certification and the focus of buyers on price, instead of quality.

Export products in 2017 (tonnes)

Trade Map (2018), International Trade Centre, Note that this is mirror data.

The exports of value-added products exported under HS1605 (prepared or preserved crustaceans and molluscs) have decreased slightly after its sixfold increase in 2016 (from 292 MT in 2015, to 1,582 MT in 2016, to 1,244 MT in 2017). Nevertheless, buyers use Bangladesh mainly as a source for raw frozen shrimp and that exporters can or do not want to compete on value-added products with e.g. Vietnam or India.

The value-added products are mainly exported to Belgium, the Netherlands, and Russia.


Last updated: 01/10/2018

  • Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)

    # Farms 4
    # Hatcheries 0
    # Feed mills 0
    # Factories 11

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Risk assessment

Environmental risks

  • Deforestation
  • Salinization
  • Flooding
  • Biodiversity

Social risks

  • Female workers rights in factories
  • Use of brokers for factory workers
  • Child labour at shrimp farms

Quality and supply chain risks

  • Pushing with Agar Agar by middleman
  • Soaking by middleman
  • Quality control in depots
  • Lack of traceability

Species in Bangladesh

Click on the species and find out more about the species in Bangladesh