Guangzhou, CHINA — As shrimp exports from China have dived, its own consumption has rocketed.

According to data presented at the annual Global Outlook on Aquaculture Leadership (GOAL) conference, taking place this year from Sept. 19- 22 in Guangzhou, China, Chinese shrimp consumption has increased by 123% from 2005 to 2015.

Looking at 2010-2015, it has increased 60%. Jim Anderson, a professor from the University of Florida who presents the shrimp data at GOAL every year, emphasized the figures are not exact.

“But, they show the trend,” said Anderson. The figures, which are in round weight, show that Chinese shrimp consumption was roughly 1.7 million metric tons, using an equation of production plus imports minus exports.

In 2011, the level was just under 1.5m metric tons, while it was 1m back in 2010.

Meanwhile, shrimp exports from China have dived from around 500,000t in 2011, a record level, to close to 300,000t in 2015, according to data presented at GOAL.

From 2011 to 2015, this is a drop of 37%, said Anderson.

This is a mix of the lower levels of Chinese shrimp production, which is expected to drop again in 2016, and the booming demand, said Anderson.

According Cui He, the executive vice president and secretary general of China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA), it looks like production in 2016 will be between 1.2m metric tons and 1.3m metric tons.

Although the total volume of shrimp production in China is disputed, with levels as low as 600,000t thrown out by different groups, he told Undercurrent News the CAPPMA figures are based on feed sales.

In 2015, the level was around 1.5m metric tons, he said. “This is accurate, as it is based on the sale of feed to the farmers.”

The cause of the drop is the continued impact of early mortality syndrome (EMS) and other diseases.

It is very tough to eradicate EMS if the pond ecosystem is not changed, he said.

So, production in southern provinces such as Guangdong, Hainan and Guangxi, big contributors to China’s shrimp output, is down, he told Undercurrent.

Output from northern provinces, such as Jilin and Liaoning, which have not traditionally been such big players in shrimp, is increasing, as they do not have the same issues with EMS, Anderson said.

If prices increase, so will production, he said.