Date of Award

1999

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

R. Wes Harrison

Abstract

The shrimp harvesting sector is the largest component of the southeastern United States fishing industry, accounting for 57% of the total value of landings in the region in 1996. U.S. shrimp imports were valued at $2.6 billion in 1996. Together, domestic production and imports of the raw product support a large shrimp processing sector, which provides several thousand jobs either directly or indirectly. In 1975 and 1984, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) investigated the industry to determine whether the volume of shrimp imports was high enough to threaten domestic firms which were producing articles similar to, or directly competitive with the imported product. In both studies, the commission concluded that no harm was done to the processing sector. However, an analysis of the shrimp industry that focused on the processing sector revealed that imports did have a negative impact. The objectives of this research were to quantify the effects of imported shrimp quantities on processor margins and firm size distribution. Results showed that retail prices of shrimp negatively affected per capita shrimp consumption. Red meat and fish products were found to be shrimp substitutes. At the wholesale level, findings support a peeled shrimp sector dominated by imports. The import effects increased after 1983 due to the development of shrimp farming in South Asia and Latin America. Additionally, imports of headless-shell-on and "other" shrimp products have negatively impacted the domestic processing activities. The ex-vessel demand was responsive to changing domestic landings and imported headless-shell-on shrimp quantities. Wholesalers were not passing on increased production costs to consumers. Consequently the margins for processors of peeled shrimp and headless-shell-on shrimp narrowed annually by $0.0323 and $0.0407 per pound. The narrowing in the margins impacted the processor size distribution. In 1973, out of 181 active processors, 45% had total shrimp sales below $1 million a year, 38% between $1 and $10 million, and 21% above $10 million. By 1996, those percentages were 38%, 36% and 32% for categories 1, 2 and 3 with a total of 97 firms processing shrimp.

ISBN

9780599474437

Pages

173

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