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The great shrimp shortage of 2013
An outbreak of disease overseas has driven prices to record levels
Get 'em while you can.
Get 'em while you can. AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
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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.

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

$5.95
Price per pound for white shrimp

56
Percentage increase that represents over last year

$3
Price a pound of such shrimp fetched in 2010

$6.40
Price of a pound of black tiger shrimp in January

$7.40
Price of a pound of the same kind of shrimp in July

80
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

31
Decrease, in percent, in shrimp imports from Thailand this year

4
Pounds of shrimp the average American eats per year

10
Percentage of the U.S. shrimp supply provided by domestic producers

1
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.

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

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami HeraldFox News, and ABC News.

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