Gulf oil spill helps Vietnam shrimp sales


HANOI, Vietnam – Vietnam earned an estimated record high of $2 billion for its shrimp exports last year, as prawn-loving Americans paid more to satisfy their appetites, partly due to demand generated by the Gulf Coast oil spill, an industry group said Tuesday.

Vietnam exported an estimated 240,000 tons of shrimp in 2010. That’s up from 210,000 tons in 2009, which was valued at $1.7 billion, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers said.

Japan remains Vietnam’s largest shrimp market with 57,000 tons of shrimp shipped there in the first 11 months of 2010, valued at $528 million, the association said.

The United States was Vietnam’s second-largest market in terms of volume, but Americans paid higher prices for what they did buy, with 48,000 tons generating $511 million in the first 11 months of 2010. That’s a 20 percent increase in volume and a 40 percent hike in price compared to the same period last year, the industry group said. Figures were not yet available for December.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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