Shrimp shortage impacts South Florida restaurants, seafood markets and consumers

Average shrimp prices hover above $6 per pound

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- - A South Florida restaurant staple could soon be out of reach for some customers as the price of shrimp continues to skyrocket throughout global markets.

The average price of the crustacean, according to the Urner Barry White Shrimp Index, was $6.10 on Tuesday. Three months prior, the price hovered just above $4.70 in June.

The news is grim for shrimp lovers like Stan Komitor of Jupiter.

"I love shrimp, especially in a pasta. That's why I ordered it," said Komitor while eating a shrimp dish at PB Catch in Palm Beach.

Managers at PB Catch said they are closely watching.    

"We've heard of the problem, mainly in Asia that's affecting the shrimp with disease," said Sascha Bennemann, general manager of PB Catch.

Bennemann points to a worldwide shortage brought on by diseased shrimp among populations in Asia. He said prices have yet to change at PB Catch, but the situation could change.

"At some point we might have to take some measures to make up for it," said Bennemann.

Seafood Markets said despite increases in prices, shrimp is still a great value compared to other crustaceans.

"It doesn't seem to have slowed the consumption by the consumers," said Steve Gyland of Cod and Cappers Seafood Market in North Palm Beach.

Gyland said he could start seeing less consumption if the prices continue upward.

Komitor said he has not changed his order yet, but said that could change.
    
"Well then I might switch to lobster because lobster prices are coming down," said Komitor.

Seafood market experts said many restaurants and stores are stocking up on shrimp for the holiday season right now.

Prices of shrimp could fall in November when the buyers slow down their purchases.

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