Are you a fan of canned shrimp? Have you been searching high and low for this seafood delicacy, only to come up empty-handed?
You’re not alone.
The scarcity of aluminum and plastics, coupled with a perfect storm of circumstances, has led to a shortage of canned shrimp on store shelves. From bad weather to disease outbreaks, there are several factors at play.
In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind the canned shrimp shortage and offer some alternative seafood options to satisfy your cravings.
So, grab a seat and let’s dive in!
Why Can’t I Find Canned Shrimp?
There are several reasons why canned shrimp is in short supply. Firstly, bad weather in many of the areas where shrimp are caught has affected the supply chain. Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and typhoons in Asia have disrupted fishing activities, leading to a decrease in the number of shrimp caught.
Secondly, there have been outbreaks of disease among shrimp populations. This has led to higher prices for shrimp and less availability of the product on store shelves. As a result, many manufacturers are unable to keep up with the demand for packaged items, including canned shrimp.
Additionally, the scarcity of aluminum and plastics has also contributed to the shortage of canned shrimp. These materials are essential for packaging and preserving food items, but their limited availability has made it difficult for manufacturers to produce enough canned shrimp to meet consumer demand.
The Perfect Storm: Understanding The Factors Behind The Canned Shrimp Shortage
The canned shrimp shortage can be attributed to a combination of factors that have created a perfect storm for the seafood industry. One of the main factors is bad weather, which has affected the supply chain in many areas where shrimp are caught. Heavy rains and storms in Southeast Asia have made it difficult for fishermen to get out on the water and do their job, leading to lower than normal catches. Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico have also disrupted fishing activities, further contributing to the decrease in available shrimp.
Another factor is disease outbreaks among shrimp populations. Shrimp are susceptible to various diseases that can kill off large numbers of the population, leading to higher prices and less availability of the product on store shelves. As a result, many manufacturers are unable to keep up with the demand for packaged items, including canned shrimp.
In addition, scarcity of aluminum and plastics has also contributed to the shortage of canned shrimp. These materials are essential for packaging and preserving food items, but their limited availability has made it difficult for manufacturers to produce enough canned shrimp to meet consumer demand.
Bad Weather: How Natural Disasters Affect Shrimp Harvesting
Natural disasters such as hurricanes and typhoons can have a significant impact on shrimp harvesting. Shrimp are commonly caught in Southeast Asia, an area that has been hit hard by heavy rains and storms over the past few months. These weather conditions have made it difficult for fishermen to get out on the water and do their job, leading to lower than normal catches.
In addition to disrupting fishing activities, bad weather can also damage shrimp habitats. Hurricanes and typhoons can cause significant damage to coral reefs, which are essential for the survival of shrimp populations. This can lead to a decrease in the number of shrimp available for harvesting, further exacerbating the shortage of canned shrimp.
Furthermore, bad weather can also affect transportation and distribution of shrimp. Severe storms can cause delays in shipping and transportation, leading to longer wait times for delivery and increased costs for manufacturers.
Disease Outbreaks: The Impact On Shrimp Farms And Production
Disease outbreaks have had a significant impact on shrimp farms and production. Shrimp aquaculture has been plagued by several pathogenic diseases caused by viruses such as IHHNV, YHV, TSV, WSSV, and IMNV. These diseases have resulted in a shortage of shrimp fry due to the closure of most hatcheries during lockdowns. Only a few hatcheries in the region are still operational, and many have had to dump their fries due to the inability to find buyers.
The situation has prompted an advocacy group for sustainable seafood production, along with more than 25 major retailers and seafood companies, to urge the governments of the world’s top shrimp producers, including China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, to take decisive action against the proliferation of diseases in shrimp farms. They have expressed concerns about the continued outbreak and the emergence of new diseases in shrimp that disrupt the reliability of supply chains, threaten seafood sustainability and jobs, and cost the industry billions of dollars each year.
All major shrimp producing countries have already committed to following international guidelines for necessary controls issued by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Animal Health Organization (OIE). However, there is a need for urgent action to prevent a repeat of the chronic economic impacts associated with established diseases and ultimately lead to a more resilient and robust shrimp industry.
The risks to shrimp farms are also magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. International supplies of good quality broodstock to hatcheries have been limited by transportation disruptions. As the international market for shrimp picks up, increased demand for juvenile shrimp may overshadow proper inspection and controls. The loss of income impacts millions of farmers’ livelihoods, as more than five million people are employed directly on shrimp farms and an additional five million in related supply chains.
Global Supply Chain Disruptions: The Aluminum And Plastic Shortage
One of the major factors contributing to the shortage of canned shrimp is the global supply chain disruptions caused by the shortage of aluminum and plastics. Aluminum is a crucial component in the manufacturing of cans, including those used for packaging shrimp. The shortage of aluminum is due to multiple factors, including rising gas costs in Europe, China’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions, and the increased demand for aluminum cans from the beverage industry.
The plastic shortage is also a significant contributor to the problem. The plastic used in food packaging, such as shrink wrap and plastic bags, is in short supply due to supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic. The pandemic has led to an increased demand for plastic products, including personal protective equipment (PPE), which has put pressure on the already limited supply.
Furthermore, the PVDF and coatings shortages are also affecting the production of canned shrimp. These compounds are used in the production of coatings that protect cans from corrosion and other environmental factors. The reduction in Chinese production of these compounds to meet environmental requirements has led to a global shortage.
In response to these challenges, manufacturers are exploring alternative packaging options for shrimp, such as frozen or vacuum-sealed products. However, these options are often more expensive than canned shrimp, making them less accessible to consumers.
Alternative Seafood Options: Delicious Substitutes For Canned Shrimp
If you’re looking for a convenient seafood alternative to canned shrimp, there are several options available that are both delicious and sustainable.
Vegan seafood is a great option for those who want to enjoy the taste and texture of seafood without harming marine life. These products are made using plant-based ingredients such as legumes, soy, and konjac, a root vegetable. They can be used to make a variety of dishes, including shrimp dips, spring rolls, shrimp salads, and more.
For those who prefer a more natural option, mushrooms such as shiitake, baby king oyster, and king oyster are great substitutes for seafood. These mushrooms have delicate textures and subtle flavors that are similar to those of shrimp, scallops, and tuna. They can be marinated in vegan fish sauce and spices for a delicious whole food substitution. Alternatively, they can be breaded and served as an amazing fish replacement.
While canned shrimp may be difficult to find at the moment, there are plenty of alternative seafood options available that are just as tasty and sustainable. So why not give them a try and discover some new favorite dishes?