Shrimp in Thailand
With some of the largest companies in the world involved in shrimp farming, processing and exporting, such as Charoen Popkand Group (CP) and Thai Union, Thailand has been a driving force behind the development of the shrimp industry throughout Asia. The shrimp industry in Thailand is characterized by intensive shrimp farms and a relatively high degree of vertical integration with companies involved in feeding, breeding, farming and processing. Thailand’s factories are sophisticated compared to the factories in Vietnam and India and Thailand was one of the first countries in the world specialized in the production of value-added shrimp products. The growth of Thailand’s shrimp industry was abruptly halted by the outbreak of Early Mortality Syndrome, which caused massive mortality, crippling production, processing and export. Production more than halved over a period of 3 years, from 603,227 tonnes in 2011 to 263,245 tonnes in 2014. Exports followed, declining from its peak of 425,000 tonnes in 2010 to its lowest point of 156,000 tonnes in 2015. Although Thailand’s shrimp sector is recovering, and exports are going up again (180,000 tonnes in 2017), it is unlikely that Thailand will ever be able to return to its previous levels of production.