Regional producers may be able to follow the example of Honduras, whose exports to the United States of fresh farmed fish, mainly tilapia, and fresh farmed seafood, mainly shrimp, increased 13% in 2009, compared to the previous year. With the exception of El Salvador, all Central American countries have two coasts, on which they can farm seafood. In addition, most of the region's countries either use the U.S. dollar or have currencies which during the past year stayed at par, or which devalued against the dollar.
The Costa Rican colón is the region's only currency which has appreciated against the dollar during the last 12 months, making it hard to increase exports. In general, Central American perishable fish and seafood producers are well-positioned to increase sales to the United States, given the short shipping distances involved.
In the event of any future oil price hike, fast shipping times, plus the option of air freight for high value-added products, will help the region's aquatic-product businesses remain competitive.
- Fish farmers