Shrimp is the most important internationally traded fish item. Specific shrimp production statistics are somewhat difficult to come by. However, it’s been estimated that world shrimp production exceeds 6 million tons, and approximately 60-70% of that production is traded in world markets. Three major trade areas exist for global shrimp trade: The United States, Japan and Europe. It’s further estimated that world market is approximately $25 billion annually.
Farming versus fishing production proportions vary from year to year depending upon a variety of factors. Moreover, there’s a large discrepancy among estimates. Nonetheless, about 50% of shrimp are the result of fishing, while 50% are raised in special shrimp farms (aquaculture). Much of the world’s shrimp farming occurs in China and Thailand (the latter being the world’s largest exporter). Additionally, Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico also possess well-established aquaculture systems.
There are many different varieties of shrimp (including both freshwater and saltwater varieites). However, when making purchases most often the only thing a consumer knows is the general classification based on size. That’s defined by the number of individual shrimp it requires to compose one pound. For example, 10-or-less shrimp to the pound are defined as “colossal”; 11-15 categorized as “jumbo”; 16-20 identified as “extra large”; and 21-30 shrimp per pound are classified as “large”.
Shrimp are processed for a number of different uses and can be processed both on land and at sea. Processing always includes peeling, deveining and them they enter into either the cooking/cooling/packing process (such as in canned shrimp), or frozen for storage and/or direct shipment.
Shrimp are renowned for being low in fat, high in protein, and rich in Vitamins D, B12 along with selenium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium and copper.
Did you know? The differences between how we refer to “shrimp” and “prawn” can muddy the waters? That is, there’s no clear definitive answer – at least as we use the terms in the general population. There are some distinct biological differences. And generally, the term “prawn” refers to larger species, while “shrimp” refers to smaller species. But there is no clear distinction when it comes to how the terms are used – often interchangeably and thus usage gets confused depending upon the country you are in. For example, in the United Kingdom, the word “prawn” is more commonly used; conversely, in the United States, “shrimp” is the term that prevails. So you’ll just have to go with it.