Shrimp in Peru

After scallops, shrimp are Peru’s most important aquaculture export commodity. El Niño effects in 1998, white spot outbreaks in 1999 and reduced profitability due to a drop in international prices in the 2000’s inflicted massive blows to the Peruvian shrimp sector. Nevertheless, the sector recovered and experienced a tremendous growth between 2005 and 2017, with exports increasing from 35.4 million US$ to 216 million US$ in 2017 (Trademap, 2018). During the recovery, producers intensified and modernized their production systems and invested in aspects such as infrastructure, technology and management to reduce their risks. Nowadays, Peru’s production has stabilized around 21,000 – 23,000 MT, but the sector still doesn’t have the massive production capacity like Ecuador, as aquaculture expansion is limited. Large companies like Marinazul are therefore running trials and converting to intensive culture systems to boost production. 22 Medium and large corporate farms are responsible for the majority of shrimp exports, while 50 small-scale farmers mainly produce for the domestic market; the latter taking up 10% of total exports. In March 2016 the Peruvian government has issued a new General Law on Aquaculture, which aims to further stimulate, guide, and regulate sustainable aquaculture.

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Shrimp production and export statistics

Species wise production

Source: 2013 to 2016 data comes from the FAO (2018), 2017 data comes from the Ministry of Production of Peru (2018).

Litopenaeus vannamei (whiteleg shrimp) is the main cultured shrimp species in Peru. Shrimp production increased tremendously since 2003, after being seriously damaged by turbulent years with El Niño effects, disease and reduced profitability. In 2016 volumes have decreased slightly to

20,000 MT. In 2016-2017, the particularly wet rainy season affecting production, by impacting logistics and reducing salinity in shrimp ponds. After the rainy season ended, shrimp production has been back on track and ended the year 2017 with around 27,000 tonnes ​–​ a slightly higher volume compared to 2015 and 2016.

Production increase is largely due to increased efficiency through technological advances and has less to do with expansion of the sector. Environmental and sustainability rules make it difficult for farmers to expand their production area. Farmers are not allowed to increase the amount of land used for aquaculture due to regulations protecting the biosphere. Scarcity of water available for agricultural use is another factor limiting sector growth.

District wise production (hectares) in 2018

Source: Catastro Acuicola Nacional (2018)

In 2018 the total shrimp production area was 6875.65 ha. Almost all shrimp production takes place along the coastal districts in the most northwestern departments Tumbes and to a lesser extent Piura. Shrimp culture is clustered here due to the warmer climate needed for shrimp cultivation. Over half of the production area is used for large(r) scale

aquaculture, which can be mostly found in the districts Zarumilla and Tumbes in the Tumbes department. Shrimp produced in the Tumbes districts are farmed in sea water and the production area covers over 6,000 hectares. Farmers harvest HOSO sizes of 50-60, 60-70 and onward. Some important companies in this area are Atisa Perú and Marinazul.

Production in the Piura department is concentrated in the Castilla district, and covers an area of 500 hectares. Shrimps are cultured here in sweet river water and the lower temperatures allow for only one grow-out season. Companies like Ecosac harvest only once per year and especially for tails and PUD/PD which they stock for year-round sales. Piura farmers use to try to reach HOSO sizes of 20-30 and 30-40 at the end of April as it makes their sole annual harvest more profitable. However, some years it is necessary to harvest everything already in February at 50-60 and smaller because of lack of water.

Export markets

Source: Trade Map (2018), International Trade Centre,

Total shrimp export value reached 216 million US$ in 2017. While export in terms of volume showed an increase the last couple of years, export value decreased with 11 percent from 2014 to 2015, but have been slowly rising again from 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. The lower value of shrimp products is likely a result of recovering shrimp industries in other shrimp

exporting countries like Vietnam, Mexico and Thailand who had been suffering from Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS). EMS has so far not been reported from Peru (or its neighbor Ecuador). It might therefore be interesting to establish business relationships with some of Peru’s shrimp exporters.

Around 90% of the shrimp export volume is exported to only three countries: the United States, Spain and France. Export to the United States, who is the principal buyer of Peruvian shrimp, accounted for almost 10,000 tonnes in 2017 - quite stable compared to previous years. Approximately 2,000 tonnes of exported shrimp originate from wild caught fisheries in Argentina. These shrimps are exported to Peru to be reprocessed and are mainly re-exported to the United States and Canada.

Besides the United States, Spain and France are also dominant buyers, both showing a large increase in exports the last few years. Imports to Spain have increased over 2017. Between January and November (December data not yet available), Spain imported 5,200 tonnes of Peruvian shrimp. France imported 1,700 in 2017. Raw frozen, HOSO shrimp in these southern European countries primarily serve the cooking industry. The remaining exports go to other importing countries like Canada, Korea and Japan.

Export products in 2017 (tonnes)

Source: Trade Map (2018), International Trade Centre,

According to ADEX, the ratio of frozen HLSO and HOSO was 72% and 28% respectively in 2015. Almost all shrimps from Peru are exported as a raw frozen product and often serve as a cheap raw material for further processing like the cooking industry in southern Europe. Peruvian shrimp have a slightly redder color than the ones from Ecuador, reaching an A2-A3, because of less intensive farming. In addition, the shell after cooking is harder than the Ecuadorian L. vannamei. Headless Shell-On (HLSO) is the most popular export product at the moment, but according to business insiders there has been a growing demand for HOSO and larger shrimp. Especially the growing demand for larger shrimp has boosted the Peruvian exports in terms of volume.


Last updated: 01/10/2018

  • Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)

    # Farms 0
    # Farms in assessment 0
    # CoC partners 1
    Total volume (MT) 0
  • Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)

    # Farms 2
    # Hatcheries 1
    # Feed mills 2
    # Factories 2

Supply Chain

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Risk assessment

Environmental risks

  • Water pollution. The Peruvian institutions control the pollution of the water quite intensively but the smaller farmers are particularly difficult to control.
  • Entry of diseases from the sea or the Piura river.

Social risks

  • Workers safety and rights in production plants and farms.
  • Criminality (thefts of shrimps).
  • Informality, corruption by part of governmental institutions, lack of association.
  • Neighbourhood conflicts.

Quality and supply chain risks

  • Climate influence, especially in the Piura river region.
  • Lack of production capacity during high seasons (before Christmas e.g.).
  • Lack of international certifications like GlobalG.A.P., ASC, BRC and IFS.
  • Slow governmental process at all stages (documents, permits, export certificate, etc).

Species in Peru

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