Attack of the shrimp (prices)

Bangladesh's Shrimp Industry Accused Of Worker Exploitation

Shrimp is sold in a market in Shyamnagar February 21, 2014 in the Satkhira District, Bangladesh.

If you're a shrimp lover, you may be wondering why you're paying more for your favorite shrimp cocktail or Pad Thai. It's a bacterial infection ravaging shrimp farms in Southeast Asia called "early mortality syndrome" or EMS. The disease doesn't affect people, but it kills baby shrimp.

Shrimp farms in China, Vietnam, Thailand and Mexico have all been affected, but production in Vietnam and Thailand has dropped by more than half. Now the U.S. is getting most of its shrimp from India, not Thailand, and the shortage has caused price spikes.

"I would say the import prices went up anywhere from 50 to 100 percent, depending on what the item was," says Marc Nussbaum, president and COO for shrimp and seafood importer International Marketing Specialists. "Due to this, retailers have moved their prices up."

And that, dear consumer, is why you may opt for the fettucine alfredo instead of shrimp scampi next time you eat Italian.

About the author

Sarah Gardner is a reporter on the Marketplace sustainability desk.

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